Cumberland students are expected to take part in a first-in-the-province first-aid pilot project this fall.
“St. John Ambulance is going to be doing a pilot project in both Cumberland Junior and Cumberland Elementary this fall,” says Comox Valley Board of Education Cumberland trustee Rick Grinham. “And they’re going to do all grade levels from K to (Grade) 9, teaching various levels of first aid.”
Jamie Harris, branch manager for St. John Ambulance Comox Valley, says the program will see St. John Ambulance staff go into the schools to teach students a variety of first aid and safety skills set to their age level.
Kindergarten and Grade 1 and 2 students will be trained in the Bandaid Brigade program. Grade 3 and 4 students will take the We Can Help program, Grades 5, 6 and 7 will take the Lifesaver program and Grade 8 and 9 students will obtain their CPR Level C certificate.
Harris adds the pilot program may happen at Lake Trail Middle School later in the school year as well, though she notes details are still being ironed out at this point.
“First aid is a lifeskill; it’s something that you’ll always be able to use,” she says as she explains why she contacted the school district to see if it would be interested in the program. “We want to teach the kids at a young age that you can do CPR, and also be aware of things that can cause accidents.
“It’s something that we’ve wanted to do for a very long time, and this school district is amazing. Everyone of their staff is trained by St. John Ambulance…they truly are probably one of the safest districts in the province, so it’s something we talked to them about and they ran with.”
Comox Valley School District superintendent Sherry Elwood says district officials are eager to see the pilot start and the program could expand in the future.
“We’re quite excited about the possibilities,” she says. “If they are successful we have great plans to access some more of their curriculum and work in a K to (Grade) 12 way — so from elementary school through to high school — over the course of the next three to four years, to embed these programs in our schools on a regular basis.”
Grinham points out that children will be able to use these skills if needed at school, plus they’ll be able to use them in their homes and the community in general. Also, he says the program may even decrease bullying.
“I’m looking at it from a — students taking care of students — kind of like an anti-bullying process because, you know, if you’re looking after somebody, you’re not bullying them,” he explains.
“I’m delighted that Cumberland’s going to be first on the map,” continues Grinham. “Having a community like Cumberland which is quite small, and all kids know each other, I think this is an excellent program for them, and it’s a good behavioural model for them as well.”