The excited squeals of an entire school of children greeted the Lifesaver 45 helicopter when it landed in the paddock beside Tamrookum State School.
The helicopter was undoubtedly the highlight of the Beach 2 Bush education program hosted at the school recently.
Story continues after photos, below
The Surf Life Saving Queensland Beach 2 Bush program, which visits about 50 regional and rural schools each year, offers an introduction to surf lifesaving and water safety skills.
Anticipation was strong for the helicopter arrival when the children gathered in the undercover area to learn about beach safety.
Just about every child raised their hands when they were asked if they love going to the beach, and then listened eagerly as beach safety information was shared.
They learned about swimming between the red and yellow flags and that plain red flags mean you shouldn’t go in the water because there might be a strong current, rocks or a shipwreck.
They learned black and white flags indicate a place to surf outside the swimming area, red and white flags, accompanied by a siren signal an emergency evacuation and yellow flags mean enter the water but slow down and be careful.
They learned that if they feel caught in a rip current, they should signal for help with one arm up and their fist closed, yell for help, not try to swim against it, remain calm and float on their backs like a starfish.
Jellyfish were a hot topic too, with the main message to leave them alone. Children learned about all kinds of jellyfish from common jelly blubbers – a source of food for turtles – to bluebottles, whose stings can be treated with ice and hot showers.
They also learned about North Queensland’s venomous species like box jellyfish, which can be as big as a human head with tentacles 3m long, and Irukandji, which are clear and the size of a fingernail, and to call an ambulance if stung.
The program culminated in the thrill of the helicopter arrival, as Lifesaver 45 whipped up dust and leaves from the neighbouring paddock and the children filed out to see it up close and learn about people being winched to safety.