​​New road campaign puts keys to save a life in the hands of every road user​ 

  • New road safety campaign aims to arm every road user with the skills and knowledge to potentially save a life,  
  • The Anyone can save a life campaign, a joint initiative between St John WA and the WA Road Safety Commission, encourages road users to complete a free 15 minute first aid course,  
  • The course and campaign were launched by Road Safety Minister David Michael ahead of Easter double demerits in March 2024.  

St John WA has joined with the Road Safety Commission to encourage every road user to spend 15 minutes to learn how to potentially save a life if they encounter a crash.  
The joint campaign, called Anyone can save a life, was launched ahead of the Easter long weekend and asks every driver to spend 15 minutes completing a newly-developed, free online first aid course specifically for drivers and other road users.  
St John WA Group Chief Executive Officer Kevin Brown said the course built on more than a decade of experience, with the first course of its kind launched in WA in 2011.  

“Since we launched the first version of this online course, more than 170,000 have taken the time to learn the skills and experience to potentially save a life,” Mr Brown said.  
“Thanks to the Road Safety Commission, these skills and knowledge will reach a broader audience through the new Anyone can save a life campaign, which we believe is the first of its type in Australia.”  
St John WA has long advocated for first aid skills to be taught as part of learning to drive, as the first few minutes after a crash can be the difference between life and death.  
“We know about 15 per cent of road deaths could be avoided with early first aid intervention, particularly to address blocked airways,” Mr Brown said.  
“While there is no substitute for learning quality CPR through an accredited first aid course, spending 15 minutes learning the basics could mean the difference between life and death.”  
The campaign features a crash and first aid scenario which is based on the real-life experience of Nicole Tolhurst, whose life was saved by bystander Rod Baltovich in 2007.  
Mr Baltovich had just completed a first aid refresher course when he witnessed a crash in which the car Ms Tolhurst was driving careered into a wall after being struck by another vehicle.   
Ms Tolhurst was knocked unconscious and slumped over the steering wheel.   
Only able to enter the passenger side of the vehicle, Mr Baltovich lifted her head to clear her airway, enabling her to breathe.  
The pair have remained in touch over the years and welcomed the opportunity for their story to be held up as an example of the difference first aid skills can make.  
The World Health Organisation recognises first aid skills of bystanders and other road users are a critical link to reduce post-crash harm, noting more than half of European countries require first aid training for drivers before issuance of driving licenses, and many countries require all drivers to carry basic first aid supplies.  
On a national level, St John ACT volunteer Val Dempsey was awarded Senior of the Year in 2022 for her tireless advocacy for first aid for drivers. 

For more information on First Aid for Me free online courses visit firstaidforme.stjohnwa.com.au

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