Swansea Public School visited by Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and athlete Ky Hurst on Thursday

Students at Swansea Public School were given a safety masterclass on Thursday from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and champion ironman Ky Hurst.

The Newcastle-based helicopter landed inside the school’s grounds as part of a reward for being engaged in the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service (WLRHS) schools program. 

Swansea was chosen out of a possible 4,600 primary schools across Australia to learn about the importance of safety and local emergency services.

The crew, and Hurst, spoke to the students about how to stay safe – whether in the bush, backyard or surf.

Westpac’s Central Coast and Newcastle regional general manager, Bree Moody, said the landing was an important educational experience. 

“From coastal surveillance, to search and rescue, and evacuation services, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is a vital community service which is there to help when it matters,” she said. 

“In bringing the Service to Swansea Public School we hope to educate our youngest Australians about how they can avoid getting into danger, stay safe in an emergency, as well as teach them vital safety tips and advice from the very people at the forefront our emergency services.” 

Students were given the chance to sit inside the chopper and see state-of-the art lifesaving equipment such as night vision goggle technology, winch capabilities, and radio and navigation equipment. 

Hurst said it was vital to educate children about the dangers of surrounding environments. 

“As a parent, one of my greatest concerns is keeping my kids safe, and I firmly believe it is never too early to prepare them for how to grow up safely in Australia’s bush, backyard and surf,” Hurst said.

“The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service crew know all too well about how to prepare or respond in an emergency, and I feel reassured to know they are helping to educate our youngest kids about safety, and provide them with useful tips which might one day save lives.”

The WLRHS schools program has reached 1.84 million students. It is aligned with school curriculum and provides students with the chance to learn in an interactive way using lesson plans, educational videos, digital lessons and the Westpac Schools Program App. 

Westpac has supported the rescue helicopter service since its inception in Sydney in 1973, a 45-year partnership.