Ross Pye and Jason Phillips, on hand for the launch.
Ross Pye and Jason Phillips, on hand for the launch.

The Grey Medallion safe goal

KNOWING what to do in an emergency doesn’t always come naturally, but everyone can be a lifesaver.

This is the simple message and also the focus of a new campaign launched by the Royal Life Saving Society of NSW, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Ageing.

The Grey Medallion is a free course funded by Clarence Valley Council, which aims to give older people the confidence to effectively deal with a range of emergencies.

There are four main components of the program: resuscitation, personal survival, lifesaving skills, and water safety.

The Grey Medallion was officially launched yesterday at Treelands Drive Community Centre in Yamba as part of the Clarence Valley Council’s Seniors Week Program.

The launch was attended by local instructors Ross and Helen Pye, council’s community development officer Susan Howland and regional manager for the northern office of the Royal Life Saving Society, Jason Phillips.

“Statistics have shown there has been an alarming increase in death by drowning in people aged 55 and over,” Mr Phillips said.

“While in the past the Surf Life Saving Society has been focused on educating toddlers and young adults, we have also recognised the need to develop and implement an Australia-wide program targeting seniors,” he said.

Whereas the Grey Medallion teaches some of the skills obtained for the Bronze Medallion, the emphasis is on knowledge and participation rather than physical abilities and assessments.

“There are no exams,” Helen Pye said.

“We aim to teach without pressure,” Ross said.

“We like to have a laugh while we learn together.

“The good thing about this program is that it’s flexible, it can be tailored to the key interests of the group.”

Ross said that he had received many enquiries from people who provide care for grandchildren and that they were generally concerned about their ability to manage a potentially life-threatening situation, either at the beach or at home.

“This course would give people the confidence to act,” he said.

Helen Pye has been teaching water confidence to adults in the Clarence Valley since 2004 and is fully qualified by Austswim.

The Grey Medallion program will begin on Monday, April 12.

For enrolments and details ring Ross and Helen Pye on 6645 1671.

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