Monthly Archives: May 2018


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First aid course turns real life

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Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

A Chief from Canadian Fleet Pacific says everyone should undergo first aid training after he used his expertise to save the life of a Nanaimo man in cardiac arrest in March.

Chief Petty Officer Second Class Paul McCoy, 52, is in the 32nd year of his career with the Royal Canadian Navy and currently works in his unit’s Underwater Warfare branch as a Coastal Advisor on Sonar Operations.

But he also works a part-time job as a First Aid instructor for the St. John Ambulance training centre in his hometown of Duncan. On March 10, one of his students, 66-year-old Earl Morris, suffered a cardiac arrest during his class.

“It happened to Earl in the right place at the right time,” said CPO2 McCoy. “If you are going to have a heart attack, have it in a first aid class where there are people fully trained and willing to help.”

The incident occurred as the class was taking a break and Chief McCoy was in the hallway. A student rushed to him to say Morris had collapsed in his chair, was unresponsive and not breathing. CPO2 McCoy, with the help of another instructor and student, sprang into action and used their training and equipment to save the heart attack victim’s life.

CPO2 McCoy, who is certified as an Occupational First Aid Level 3 and Advanced Medical First Responder, assessed Morris’ condition and then moved him to the ground. He performed CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) while the other instructor administered oxygen.

CPO2 McCoy used a defibrillator to keep him alive while his student and the other instructor continued to perform CPR until paramedics arrived. Paramedics then used their defibrillators approximately six times before Morris was stable enough to be transported to hospital. He has since recovered.

McCoy is quick to downplay the hero moniker bestowed on him by Cowichan Training Centre’s supervisor Anne Saele, and fellow students and instructors.

“I don’t see myself as a hero. I was just a guy who was there, but it’s definitely one in the win column for me and Mr. Morris,” he said.

CPO2 McCoy received his First Aid Instructor certification while serving in HMCS Calgary in 2007. Over the course of his life he has used his first aid training to save the lives of others. Those include severely injured accident victims of a head-on-collision on the Malahat Pass, and two pedestrians who were struck by a vehicle in Sooke.

He recommends first aid training and refresher training to everyone.

“The training gives you the tools and confidence to properly perform first aid,” he said.  “It could be you or someone you love lying there next time. If you know what to do, you will be able to jump in and help. Everyone should have this training.”

Check out our first aid course in Canberra held at the Parklands Hotel in Dickson.




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Having a severe allergic reaction without an EpiPen on hand is a life-compromising nightmare: Without immediate medical attention, a person suffering from a nut allergy or a bee sting or some other intense intolerance could go into anaphylactic shock—which occurs in 1 in 50 Americans and could lead to death in as few as 15 minutes. That’s why one research team decided to create an app that would potentially put the epinephrine-injecting, life-saving tool into someone’s hand far quicker than an ambulance can arrive on the scene.

Researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel created EpiMada, an app that uses the same algorithms as ride-sharing services to match a person with someone nearby who carries an EpiPen, according to Mental Floss. Here’s how it the service is intended to work: Let’s say your allergy is triggered, you don’t have an EpiPen on you, and a medical team won’t arrive on the scene in time to help before you go into anaphylactic shock (typically 3 to 30 minutes after exposure, so act fast). Using EpiMada, a total stranger could jump in and rescue you with their personal EpiPen—the infamously prohibitively expensive adrenaline-dispensing device 3.6 million Americans were reportedly were prescribed in 2015 alone. But regarding that high cost, app co-creator Michal Gaziel Yablowitz, a doctoral student, says in a press release that “preliminary research results show that allergy patients are highly motivated to give their personal EpiPen to patient-peers in immediate need.”

“With hundreds of allergy sufferers signed on and more to follow, we hope that this initiative helps save crucial minutes to first epinephrine use.” —app co-creator Dr. David G. Schwartz

For safety reasons, each user with a current epinephrine prescription will be individually accepted into the app—and to use the service, you have to apply to join the community, which is reportedly growing. “The potential of leveraging patients carrying the same medication to respond in emergencies is enormous,” EpiMada co-creator David G. Schwartz, PhD, says. “With hundreds of allergy sufferers signed on and more to follow, we hope that this initiative helps save crucial minutes to first epinephrine use.”

Unfortunately, the app is currently only available in Israel, but the researchers are working on similar services around the world: One in Philadelphia is currently using the same concept as EpiMada but with naloxone, a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses.

This is yet another example that illustrates how technology can be used to improve people’s access to health care.

Should you be worried about the allergy version of seasonal affective disorder? Also, here are five allergy-fighting foods.


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Minimum gap rule helping cyclists

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MOTORISTS are now required to follow a new road rule when passing cyclists and could face a hefty $330 fine if they break it. 9, 20181:48PM

‘Die-in’ Staged in Protest of Road Safety for Brisbane Cyclists

NSW motorists will have to leave minimum gaps when passing cyclists or face fines and loss of demerit points following a successful two-year trial.

This month the Minimum Passing Distance rule was retained as a permanent NSW road rule after an evaluation of the trial.

The rule requires drivers passing a cyclist travelling in the same direction to leave a minimum gap one metre between the car and bike when the speed limit is 60km/h or less.

That distance bumps up to 1.5 metres when it is higher than 60km/h.

An independent review of the two-year trial estimated a 15 per cent reduction in bicycle-to-vehicle crashes, Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey said on Wednesday.

Drivers who break the law face a penalty of $330 and two demerit points.

If the speed limit is under 60km/h then a gap of one metre applies. Picture: Transport NSW/YouTube

If the speed limit is under 60km/h then a gap of one metre applies. Picture: Transport NSW/YouTubeSource:YouTube

This new law should be relatively easy to remember unlike some obscure road rules catching out hundreds of Aussie drivers and cyclists.

Some of the seemingly innocuous offences drivers have been stung for in the past year include hanging an arm or leg outside of a vehicle window or sitting your pet on your lap.

The RACQ data shows that 400 motorists, in Queensland alone, copped fines for having part of their person’s body outside a window or door — an offence which you can be fined up to $126 for committing.

If the speed limit is over 60km/h then a 1.5 metre gap applies. Picture: Transport NSW/YouTube

If the speed limit is over 60km/h then a 1.5 metre gap applies. Picture: Transport NSW/YouTubeSource:YouTube

Additionally, 170 drivers had been fined for having an animal on their lap — an offence which can earn you a fine of up to $294 — and 113 pedestrians had obstructed a vehicle during a 12-month period in the Sunshine State.

Cyclists were also stung by lesser-known rules as 66 riders were issued an infringement notice for riding a bike without a bell in the same period and 52 drivers received a fine for improperly honking their horn.

Cycling Deathsin Australia

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Nationwide since 2000

“Obviously, there are many motorists copping fines for breaking rules they may not be aware of,” said RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie.

“These road rules may seem insignificant to some but they’re in place to keep all road users safe.”

There is one particular law that varies from state to state that can have a very costly surprise if you are caught not following it.

Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia chief executive Robert Barwick took to the group’s Facebook page to alert travellers after a member of the club was stung by the obscure new rule.

It involves having to slow down dramatically when passing emergency vehicles in South Australia — 25km/h to be precise. The unaware member who was caught out claims she was fined $1007 and disqualified from driving for six months.

“A member, on their way to Adelaide, drove past two police cars parked well off the side of the road (approximately 12 metres) with their lights flashing. They appeared to be talking to a motorist.

“The member states that she was driving approximately 85km/h at the time (the speed limit was 110km/h). She continued driving and not long after she saw lights of a police car flashing behind her, requesting her to pull over — which she did.

“The police officer asked her speed, which she said was about 85km/h. He said she had been travelling at 83km/h and asked her if she was aware that the speed limit when driving by an emergency vehicle flashing their lights is 25km/h in South Australia?

“She was not aware of this. She tried to explain her case, but to no avail she was issued with an infringement notice — $1007 fine and an immediate six-month driving disqualification. As a single traveller with a 49 year unblemished driving record, she was dumbfounded and confused with what had just happened.”

Not slowing down while passing an emergency vehicle cost a driver dearly.

Not slowing down while passing an emergency vehicle cost a driver dearly.Source:Supplied

Similar laws in Victoria and Western Australia require motorists to drop their speed to 40km/h.

Canberra is set to introduce the rule and it will be trialled in NSW this year.

Police are urging the Queensland government to consider similar laws in the Sunshine State.

Mr Barwick told that while the rule is fine, it’s confusing to have laws that vary across states.

“I do think it is a good rule but motorists need to know about it. What I cannot understand how it varies in different states,” he said. “Generally it’s 40km/h but in South Australia (it’s less).”

He reinforced that it’s a broader issue that this one rule.

“National registration and national licensing should be brought in,” he said. “If your vehicle is registered in one state and needs an inspection you need to go back to that state to have it done, prior to registration.

“For example if you are holidaying in Western Australia in your RV and you are from Queensland, you need to undertake the inspection in that state. A national system would ensure it would be easier. However I don’t believe the states will agree because they will lose out on the revenue stream attached to registration and licensing.”

—With AAP

Hopefully this limits accidents on our roads with cyclists. If you would like to learn in a fun and friendly first aid course in Canberra contact us at



Local lifesaving volunteers save 23 lives since September

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THE actions of the those who keep our beaches safe were honoured at a memorial service yesterday.

Surf lifesavers have been raising the red and yellow flags every weekend and public holiday since September, and will now take a well-earned rest over the winter months before the next season kicks off towards the end of this year.

During this time, volunteers from across the Wide Bay Capricorn region have watched over more than 118,300 beachgoers and combined to perform 7897 preventative actions to help proactively protect swimmers in and around the water.

In addition, volunteers treated 553 first aid patients and, most importantly, directly saved the lives of 23 beachgoers through in-water rescues.

SLSQ regional operations manager Craig Holden said local lifesavers had performed a wonderful job over the season.

“Our volunteer surf lifesavers have performed an outstanding job this season, and there’s no doubt they’ve earned a chance to put their feet up and relax over the next few months,” he said.

“A lot of people don’t realise how much work it takes to protect our beaches – it’s not just patrols any more, there’s a lot of training, fundraising, operations, and club activities that go on behind the scenes to make sure our volunteers are ready and able to perform their roles.”

To mark the final weekend of patrols, surf lifesavers gathered at Bundaberg SLSC for a special memorial day service to pay their respects to those who have lost their lives in the ocean this season and those from within the surf family who have passed, including Bundaberg’s Gemma Henricksen, who lost her battle with cancer last month.

The ceremony saw surf lifesavers in full patrol uniform lay a red and yellow wreath of flowers as a mark of respect.

There have been five drownings on Queensland beaches this season: three on the Sunshine Coast, one at Herron Island, and one at Emu Park.

All drownings occurred at either unpatrolled locations or outside patrol times and Mr Holden said it was a reminder to put safety first.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen five people drown on Queensland beaches across the season and, as far as we’re concerned, that’s obviously five too many,” he said.

“It’s a heartbreaking reminder about the need to respect the ocean at all times and swim only at patrolled locations and during designated patrol times,

With the volunteer season coming to a close, beaches across the Wide Bay Capricorn region will continue to be patrolled by SLSQ’s professional lifeguards.

Meanwhile, SLSQ will remain active across the winter months through its 24/7 emergency response groups, which are now active in all regions across the state.


First aid treatments

Wide Bay Capricorn: 553

Queensland-wide: 10,839

Preventative actions

Wide Bay Capricorn: 7897

Queensland-wide: 65,924

Beach attendance

Wide Bay Capricorn: 119,165

Queensland-wide: 3,015,744


Wide Bay Capricorn: 23

Queensland-wide: 863


Asthma Boy

VIC and SA to be hit with icy cold front

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PARTS of Australia have been relishing in warm sunny weather, but that’s about to change. Fast. Rain, damaging winds and snow are forecast. 3, 20183:10PM

RUG up — our warm weather is about to take a turn for the chilly worst.

Extreme weather is already hitting many parts of the country’s southeast and temperatures are set to dip again tomorrow with heavy rain, damaging winds and possible snow set to fall.

Sky News Weather chief meteorologist Tom Saunders said the chilly conditions are caused by a cold front in the southeast.

“We have near record high May temperatures in NSW and the ACT and much-needed rain over southern Australia with the risk of damaging winds,” he said.

Mr Saunders said April was the second hottest on record for Australia on average across the whole country, but that has now come to an end.

“Much of the southeast recorded their hottest April on record, including Canberra and Sydney,” Mr Saunders said.

“It was also the driest April in 21 years with a countrywide average of only 10.2mm.”

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warned rain and possible thunderstorms will hit parts of South Australia today and tomorrow.

The cold front has arrived. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

The cold front has arrived. Picture: Bureau of MeteorologySource:Supplied

Winds of up to 90km/h and heavy rain are forecast to hit Adelaide, Mount Lofty Ranges, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Eastern Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Mid North and Kangaroo Island.

Murraylands, Upper South East, Lower South East and parts of West Coast and Riverland districts are also expected to be hit by strong gusts.

The BOM has also issued severe weather warnings for damaging winds across Central, South West and North Central districts of Victoria with wind gusts of 90km/h expected.

Winds of up to 110km/h could hit Alpine regions.

Mr Saunders said rain and storms could hit later today with Adelaide and South Australia already receiving a heap of rain.

“Adelaide’s heaviest rain should be through the morning and the city could receive its heaviest fall so far this year,” Mr Saunders said.

“Already this morning the Eyre Peninsula has received about 10 to 20mm of rain — the heaviest so far this year. There is also the risk of damaging wind gusts across SA this morning.”

Adelaide is due to hit lows of 11-13C over the next few days. The city will hit a high of 20C today with showers, 18C tomorrow and 21C on Saturday with showers easing.

Mr Saunders said the rainband will then spread across southern NSW, Victoria, and Tasmania later today and early Friday.

“The best falls will be along the coast and ranges with over 25mm for some areas,” Mr Saunders said.

“Generally less than 10mm will fall across most of the Murray Basin but it has been so dry this year that could still be the heaviest fall this year.

“For example Mildura’s wettest day so far this year has only brought 3.2mm and the city has received less than 10mm for the entire year.”

Tomorrow is looking equally as chilly.

“Friday will be colder over the southeast and again windy with showers and even some Alpine snow,” Mr Saunders said.

“The weather will ease over the southeast during the weekend.”

However Mr Saunders said while freezing weather was set to hit some parts of the southeast, other areas were basking in warmer conditions.

“Ahead of the rainband, near record high maximum temperatures are developing over NSW, the ACT and central/eastern Victoria,” Mr Saunders said.

He said maximum temperatures today for parts of NSW were actually a May record with Canberra due to hit 24-24.5C, Albury 28-27.6C, Wagga Wagga 28-31.1C, Orbost 28-28.9C and Griffith 29-28.6C.

Sydney can expect lows of 13-19C over the next few days.

The city will hit a top of 26C today, 26C tomorrow and 22C on Saturday.

Melbourne will reach lows of 11-12C over the next few days and a high of 25C today with heavy showers. The city will hit a high of 18C tomorrow and 20C on Saturday with showers easing.

If you think that’s cold, spare a thought for those in Hobart. The Tasmanian capital will experience lows of 9-10C over the coming days, with a high of 22C today dropping to 18C and showers tomorrow and Saturday.

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Dad saved son urges others to learn first aid

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Photo of Ruaridh Brown, as his father Alec Brown from Mull, Scotland, who saved his son’s life using infant CPR skills.

A father who saved his baby son’s life using recently acquired CPR skills is urging others to learn first aid.

Alec Brown, 29, put the skills he had learned into action when his eight-month-old son Ruaridh suddenly stopped breathing as he sat in his high chair for lunch at the family’s home on Mull.

Mr Brown thought he had choked and looked to see if he could dislodge anything from his son’s throat but found nothing and saw that Ruaridh was turning blue. Having called an ambulance, he carried out CPR and after a short time Ruaridh was sick and started to cry.

The incident on April 6 came weeks after Mr Brown attended a training session led by St Andrew’s First Aid in Oban in January as part of the charity’s community engagement programme.

He nearly didn’t make it because of the weather and ferry cancellations. Mr Brown said: “You hear about these types of stories in the news but you never expect it to happen to you. I wanted to attend the first aid training because I had a young family and living on an island means that emergency medical support can take a bit longer to arrive than on the mainland.

“When Ruaridh stopped breathing, I went into auto- pilot and remembered what I had been taught.

“It felt like half an hour before be started breathing again but I suspect it was only a minute.

“I’m just so glad I made the effort to go to the demonstration. The ambulance arrived after 20 minutes but had I not known what to do, the ending could have been very different.”

Ruaridh was airlifted to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow where he spent three days, with doctors concluding the episode may have been caused by a viral infection.

Mr Brown, who lives in Tobermory with wife Kayleigh, 26, Ruaridh and Callum, 3, is urging other people to learn first aid skills. He said: “I can’t recommend strongly enough learning to do even basic first aid.”

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