VAL Dempsey has been a tireless worker in her community in Canberra, as a volunteer for St John Ambulance Service for more than 50 years. Since being named 2022 Senior Australian of the Year, Mrs Dempsey has taken her passion on the road, advocating for compulsory first aid training for learner drivers. Her passion for first aid education stems from personal experience and tragedy.
Mrs Dempsey’s advocacy started after her daughter was involved in a car accident in which a friend was killed. She recounts that people at the scene wanted to help but didn’t know how to administer lifesaving first aid. Labor Lyons MP Jen Butler recently met Mrs Dempsey when she visited the state and heard first hand about the importance of bystander first aid in preventing deaths in those vital minutes following a car accident. “Val is most deserving of her appointment as Senior Australian of the Year,” Ms Butler said.
“Val’s passion and commitment should inspire us all to serve our communities and fight for the things that we know can make a difference.” Mrs Dempsey was in Tasmania advocating to make first aid training mandatory for new drivers. “Tasmania’s Road Safety Strategy identifies that, on average, 92 young Tasmanians aged 25 or below are seriously injured or killed on our roads every year and that is 92 too
many,” Ms Butler said. St John’s Tasmania has requested the Tasmanian Government commit to including basic first-aid competency training as a pre-requisite to obtaining a driver’s licence.
Under this initiative learner drivers would be required to complete an online test module on the principles of ‘DRABC’ (Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing and Circulation) before obtaining their probationary driver’s year and that is 92 too many,” Ms Butler said St John’s Tasmania has requested the Tasmanian Government commit to including basic first-aid competency training as a pre-requisite to obtaining a driver’s licence. licence (similar to hazardperception tests). The St John Ambulance Driver First Aid is an online course that takes about 30 minutes. It is free, and issues a certificate of completion.