COURTENAY, B.C. – North Island College is now certified as a Red Cross Instructor Development Centre.

With this certification, students in and around the Northern Vancouver Island area can be certified as Red Cross First Aid instructors.

Previously, students would have to travel to Victoria to receive their training.

NIC’s lead first aid instructor, Ernie Payne, will be teaching the new instructor training courses.

“I’ve found the most effective way to teach people first aid is to go to job sites and workplaces,” he said in a release from the college.

“The biggest thing with first aid is comfort – being comfortable with the skills you’re learning and the equipment you will be using. If you start in an environment where people are already comfortable, it makes it easier for them to absorb the information. Plus, you can use examples that are relevant for students in terms of their work environment.”

Training for soon-to-be instructors focuses on being able to articulate information clearly, answering questions and making information relatable.

“People think of first aid as this big, complex thing, but anyone can do it,” Payne said.

“Whether it’s putting on a bandage or clearing someone’s airway if they’re choking. I think people would be surprised at how little effort it takes to help someone in need.”

The Red Cross Instructor First Aid and CPR course takes place April 15 to the 18, 2018 at the Comox Valley campus of North Island College.