Registered with the collectorate, they will be called to offer service during natural calamities and disasters

It all started in a well-planned manner by the beginning of 2012. But within a few months, Tamil Nadu got a record number of 32,000 college students who had undergone intensive training on first aid techniques.

The creation of this strong student volunteer force was part of the ambitious ‘Iyarkai Mission 2012’ programme of St. John Ambulance (India) – Tamil Nadu state.

The trainees include over 1,000 college students, including about 250 girls, representing four city-based colleges.

The mission is to run with the theme ‘Learning first aid to save a life.’ A total of 1,000 volunteers are trained in every district and certified to serve during disasters. They will receive first aid kits and identity cards to provide first aid.

Dr. Vadivel Mugundhan, chairman of St. John Ambulance (India), Tamil Nadu state, launched ‘Iyarkai Mission 2012’ programme with the objective of imparting first aid training to college and school students in the beginning, and later covering the entire population.

Four city colleges – Bishop Heber College, Jamal Mohamed College, K. Ramakrishnan College of Engineering, and MIET Arts and Science College – were selected for this programme. Senior first aid lecturers of St. John Ambulance from Chennai and Tiruchi were the resource persons at the training programmes.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique required when someone suffers heart attack or is getting drowned. Experts imparted training in CPR to the volunteers.

The volunteers got tips on handling the people who have suffered fractures, stopping bleeding while shifting accident victims to hospitals, and treating the people who have suffered snake and dog bite, fire accident victims and factory accident victims. The training programme included both theory and demonstration.

St. John Ambulance provided a special jacket to all the trained candidates apart from a first aid kit box.

The highlight is that the names of all the trained volunteers have been registered with the collectorate.

In case of natural calamities and other emergencies, the district administration will call in these volunteers to offer first aid till medical experts arrive at the scene.

The volunteers during such calamities will sport a special jacket so that police, revenue officials and the public could easily identify them and offer assistance to them in rendering their service.

The response from the student volunteers of all the colleges was very encouraging, says D. Ravindra Ganesan, secretary of St. John Ambulance, Tiruchi South Centre, who monitored the implementation of the project. Training to school and college teachers, who in turn will train the students, is another worthy project of St. John Ambulance on the anvil, says Mr. Ganesan.

C. Sivaramalingam, lecturer in first aid, and part of the training sessions, commended the interest evinced by the student participants.

Training to the student volunteers in the district has ended. To take this initiative to the next level, St. John Ambulance has partnered with Confederation of Indian Industry-Southern Region for first aid training to industrial workers.

Both the organisations have signed MoU in this regard, says Mr. Ganesan.

Over 15 per cent of the major disability and death can be prevented by properly trained first aid team and through this partnership, first aid knowledge will be strengthened by way of involvement of private sector, says a city-based industrial leader.

With Tiruchi accounting for a large number of industrial workforce, first aid training programme will immensely benefit them, he adds.