After the pandemic caused the Council of Ambulance Authorities (CAA) to postpone their annual Congress in 2020, and then push the date for another year to 2022, CAA saw the need to fill a gap in providing education for the sector and continue to facilitate networking and sharing opportunities within the wider ambulance community.
CAA last month celebrated the first year of their new programs which were released to address this need, providing fruitful education, and sharing of industry stories far and wide to all communities, no matter the location.
The launch issue of First by CAA magazine, released in August 2020, featured an interview with musician Greg Page where he shared his story of surviving a cardiac arrest. In the year that followed, they have had the chance to interview both the New Zealand and Australian Governor-Generals; Dr Tony Smith, Medical Director of St John NZ, one year on from the Whakaari/White Island disaster; and other Australasian ambulance persons of interest. The magazine is available digitally at www.caa.net.au/first.
Also in August 2020, the CAA Webinar Series began with a session on ‘Managing Traumatic Cardiac Arrest’ with Professor Richard Lyon, the Associate Medical Director of Kent Surrey Sussex Helicopter Emergency Medical Service. A full season followed with other sessions such as ‘Women in Leadership’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing’ and ‘Cyber Security’, among others. The webinars are free to all and will continue monthly. To keep an eye on what’s coming up and register to join, visit www.caa.net.au/webinars.
These digitally available programs have ensured that news and knowledge sharing is available in our rural areas as well as internationally. Stories such as the work of the Australian Stroke Alliance in collaboration with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, that ensures the effective response to stroke patients in rural and remote locations, was shared with a wider audience. (Check out page 65 of our June magazine issue for an update on stroke telehealth.)
In addition to the magazine and webinars, CAA created The Directory to assist with raising awareness of products and services available to the pre-hospital sector, all in one place. To learn more visit www.caa.net.au/directory
The other current focus project for the CAA team is Restart a Heart Day coming up on October 16, that aims to raise awareness of the importance of knowing how to do CPR and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) in the event of a cardiac arrest. In the week leading up to Restart a Heart Day, the public will be taken on a digital journey with daily videos such as ‘What is a Cardiac Arrest?’, ‘What is the difference between Cardiac Arrest and a Heart Attack?’, and ‘What is an AED and why is it important?’. These videos will be available on CAA social media channels and on the Restart a Heart Day website so they can be circulated to as many people as possible, to ensure a heightened awareness of the importance of learning CPR and how to use an AED.