Registered paramedic Karina Striegher shows a technique with a defibrillator.
Registered paramedic Karina Striegher shows a technique with a defibrillator.

Get some ‘Wiggle-room’ when it comes to first aid

EVERY year, more than 30,000 people experience a sudden cardiac arrest out of hospital, with an alarmingly low 10 per cent survival rate.

And while the person’s life you save might not be a member of the Wiggles, as happened earlier this week, registered paramedic Karina Striegher said first aid knowledge could help save a life.

“We don’t talk about death and dying as it becomes quite a frightening experience,” Mrs Striegher said.

“We do need to talk about it more so that if we are confronted we have one less element that we have to deal with.”

Mrs Striegher runs first aid training through CHS Training in Grafton, and said the training taught CPR skills but people could help in other ways.

“There are different jobs if you don’t want to directly touch someone, there are other aspects that are really important,” she said.

“It’s about safety, co-ordinating traffic, making sure emergency services have access and can depart, and being aware of your environment and being able to ask for the correct resources.

“In our first aid course we discuss a lot of these things because they make the job for emergency services easier when the information is accurate.”

Mrs Striegher said when calling triple-0, which is the correct number to dial from every phone, it was important to use clear, concise language, because panicked calls could mean police called out to medical jobs.

St John Ambulance CEO Sarah Lance said in the critical minutes before an ambulance arrived, knowing first aid and how to use a defibrillator could dramatically increase the chance of survival.

“In the event of a cardiac arrest, each minute that passes without intervention – including defibrillation – reduces the chance of survival,” Ms Lance said.

“The combination of CPR and defibrillation is the only definitive treatment for sudden cardiac arrest, increasing survival rates by up to 70 per cent.”

Mrs Striegher said learning first aid was not only important for each person, but for the community to be able to help each other.

“We’re helping each other, and we’re saving lives. First aiders save lives and it’s empowering for individuals and communities,” she said.

“Anybody can do CPR and save lives.”

The next course at CHS training is on Friday, at the South Grafton rooms, and are held monthly, or on demand for groups.

For costs and bookings, visit or call 6642 5559.

You may not save a Wiggle, but you could save a life.

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