Noreen Hegarty |

Brave Kiwi children made more than 400 emergency 111 calls to St John in the 12 months ending March 2017 and 321 of them related to life-threatening and urgent situations such as cardiac arrest.

In late March 2016 St John started evaluating how many emergency 111 calls came from children and Director of Community Health Services, Sarah Manley, says the results are heartening.

"From our perspective, the fact that 410 children under 16 knew what number and service to call in an emergency is impressive.

"These days children watch a lot of international online and television productions where emergency numbers are not 111, so it’s very reassuring to know that the message is getting through and, at times of extreme stress, children know what number to call and can access life-saving St John services."

One of the children who rang St John was Libby. Her mother, Karen, suffered a serious medical emergency at home last December and 10 year old Libby dialled 111 and stayed on the line with the St John call handler giving vital information and updates until ambulance officers arrived.

"I’m so proud of Libby for knowing what to do during what must have been a very scary situation for her. I don’t think she’s aware of how impressive her response was. It’s so important that parents teach their children to call 111 in an emergency, to stay calm and to know the address or location of where they’re calling from," says Karen.

See and hear Libby and Karen’s stories

"A key objective of St John is to build community resilience and this starts with our young. ASB St John in Schools is a programme designed to give children the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation," says Manley.

By June 30 this year, the programme had been delivered to 270,252 pre-school and primary school students (since 2015).

Most (207) of the child 111 calls for an ambulance came from the Auckland region. Many of the callers described patients having all or some of the following serious symptoms: breathing problems, appearing unconscious, having chest pain, having had a fall or suffering from a seizure.

While the call-takers did not always specifically ask the callers for their age, they are trained to determine when a child is on the phone and can assess a situation verbally so that the right service gets to the patient at the right time.



Noreen Hegarty

St John Media & Public Relations Manager

T 09 526 0528 I X 8095 I M 027 809 2058



About ASB St John in Schools

If you would like to know more about the ASB St John in Schools programme or have it delivered at your school, call St John on 0800 ST JOHN
(0800 78 56 46), send an email to or complete an online request at

ASB has sponsored the St John in Schools programme since September 2016. The ASB partnership has built on ACC’s substantial investment in the schools programme that seeks to improve injury prevention, emergency preparedness and community resilience of the next generation.

ASB head of community, sponsorship and events Mark Graham says ASB is pleased to build on its long-standing support of St John.

"ASB is proud to be involved with the programme and to provide students with a handy, pocket-sized ASB St John in Schools first aid kit," Mr Graham says.

ACC’s involvement in the programme further strengthens the long established partnership with St John and their commitment to working together on injury prevention initiatives.

"Children having the confidence to identify potential injury hazards and administer first aid in the unlikely event of an emergency could well be the difference in not only saving a life but also reducing the impact of an injury," says ACC’s Community Injury Prevention Manager, Adele Blackwood.

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