Students learn importance of rescue helicopter

STUDENTS in the region are learning more about the life-saving Westpac Rescue Helicopter through a primary school-based initiative.

Tamworth South Public and Narrabri Public schools have both embraced the program, which launches this month.

Tamworth-based Westpac Rescue Helicopter regional co-ordinator Barry Walton said the program was aiming for 20,000 students at NSW primary schools. There are 14 schools so far in Newcastle and Tamworth with the program being introduced to 42 in total.

Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service Schools Program will launch in schools across NSW. 

The program is designed to teach kids about the service and its importance to the local community and consists of classroom resources and three educational videos which feature Channel Seven’s  Air Rescue crew members.

Mr Walton said there were 16 helicopters across 13 bases nationally and three across Newcastle, Tamworth and Lismore.

Each school will get the chance to meet crew members.

Mr Walton said it was a “tremendous” program.

“At the end of the day, it’s the future of our service continuing to link with the future business people coming through schools,” he said.

“It helps us that they know what the helicopter has done and what it means to the region.”

Mr Walton said the students saw the helicopter flying around, but didn’t always know what it did, but this program would educate them.

Tamworth South principal Jeremy Mills said it was important to raise awareness of the importance of the service.

“They need to know about the importance of the rescue helicopter in the region where distance can mean the difference between life and death,” he said.

Mr Mills said the understanding of the students was needed to ensure the service remained viable in the future.

“These are the children who’ll be contributing to funding this service for their community,” he said.

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