Mates helping mates and value of first aid

District 24 Regional BASO David Box had the opportunity to meet one of the North East Victoria’s finest young people last month. 


David tells the story below.

Sixteen-year-old Will Damm and his father Stephen popped in from Kiewa to our District 24 office this week for a chat about Will’s connection to CFA’s North East Region Youth Crew program, which he has been involved with for two years. The practical training and leadership skills Will gained from this program allowed him to help out a mate who had been thrown off a motorcycle while camping with Will and other friends in March this year. 

Will and his mates were celebrating a 16th birthday, camping overnight in a shearing shed on one of their mate’s family properties. 

The group were riding motorbikes around neighbouring hills, with four mates following in a ute. During their ride, one of Will’s mates who is also Youth Crew member hit an object that threw him off his bike and he landed heavily on the ground. He was knocked unconscious and suffered two broken arms and chest injuries which made breathing difficult. 

Will put his first aid training into action, instructing his mates in how they could help the situation. They had to clear and maintain clearing their friend’s airways and treating his injuries with limited supplies they had on hand. 

“One mate drove the ute back to where he could get to a landline house phone and call for help as there is no mobile reception, ” Will explained.   

“He came back with his parents and a couple of police officers that happened to be in the area and paramedics in a 4WD.

“They transported my mate back down the steep terrain in the 4WD after spending three hours stabilising him so he could be moved, meeting the ambulance at the road. 

“Paramedics took him to the local hospital where he was airlifted to The Royal Children’s Hospital the in Melbourne the next day for further treatment. 

“Thankfully he made a full recovery. He even went skiing this winter.

“It was a great team effort on the day with a very lucky outcome for those involved.”   

The North East Youth Crew is a group of 60 young people in years 9 and 10 from three schools in Tallangatta, Corryong and Mount Beauty.  The group gets together six times a year, completing training including first aid.

“You never know when you may need to use it,” Will said.

Will is also a passionate volunteer with CFA’s Kiewa Fire Brigade, training as a junior member twice a month. He is looking forward to completing his minimum skills training through Youth Crew and joining the senior brigade ranks. 

At the Crew’s break-up event in September, Will received the Bruce Vine Leadership Award which was in part for his assistance with his friend’s motorbike accident. 

After completing the two-year Youth Crew program, Will is looking forward to getting stuck into VCE studies next year.  

Author: CFA Media