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Staying alive: St. John Ambulance volunteers always training to keep people safe

The volunteer group provides first aid services as Okanagan community events

St. John Ambulance is the organization keeping you safe at community events.

The entire organization is made up of volunteers who attend regular training sessions to keep their first aid knowledge up to date.

Capital News attended a cardiac arrest training session in Kelowna on Feb. 7 to learn more about the organization.

Area commissioner for the B.C. Interior and the North, Drew Hilland has been a volunteer for 13 years.

“We’ve got volunteers that are brand new that joined in the last six months to volunteers that have been here for 10 or 15 years. Some are standard first aid, some are paramedics. We also have a few physicians and nurses that volunteer with us.”

People can start volunteering with St. John as young as 12 in the youth program. At 16, volunteers will attend events as an assistant to the group and by 18 you can treat injuries on your own.

“We do everything from fun runs and charity events in the community that might be one day events to larger events like the Kelowna minor flag football tournament every year, the Interior Provincial Exhibition in Armstrong every year, the Funtastic slow pitch tournament in Vernon every year. It’s a huge range of events.”

Many people might not have updated their first aid knowledge since it was required in high school.

Hilland explains why people should consider attending a course.

“We know that first aid is a huge part of what we call the chain of survival. If there’s an event that happens in the community, specifically something like a cardiac arrest, having any level of first aid training can help keep that person calm and safe until either 911 can arrive or to provide the immediate life-saving support like CPR or AED while we wait for paramedics to arrive.”

St. John Ambulance offers training course to the public. Learn more, register for a course, or join the volunteers by visiting

READ MORE: White Rock deputy fire chief joins disaster-aid efforts in Turkey


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Brittany Webster

About the Author: Brittany Webster

I am a video journalist based in Kelowna and capturing life in the Okanagan
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