12 Nov 2020

Westpac is bringing its popular Westpac Rescue Rashies to a wider audience.

More than three quarters of the country are not confident performing CPR in an emergency situation, according to research released by Westpac NZ.

With more than 60 people dying annually from preventable drownings in New Zealand, the bank is launching a nationwide CPR refresher course to help keep Kiwis safe this summer.

This year, more than ever, Kiwi families are going to be heading to our beaches and waterways for a summer break. Westpac is bringing its popular Westpac Rescue Rashies to a wider audience and rolling out a nationwide campaign to encourage Kiwis to learn CPR, giving more parents the tools they need to potentially save young lives.

First unveiled last summer, Rescue Rashies fit children aged two to eight years old and each rash vest unzips to reveal CPR instructions, providing crucial and immediate advice to would-be rescuers.

“We know how much Kiwi kids love spending time around the water and it’s really important to us that they’re safe while doing so,” says Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter Intensive Care Paramedic Casey Drum.

“In a drowning situation, every second counts, which is why helping Kiwis feel more confident about CPR and offering them clear instructions, like on these rash vests, is really important.

“Westpac Chopper crews respond to emergencies as fast as we can, but every minute that goes by without CPR or defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by 10-15%.  Having more people ready and able to perform CPR until they get there could mean the difference between life and death.”

A nationally-representative survey of 1,001 people commissioned by Westpac found that 71% of Kiwis say they know CPR, but only 18% would be “very confident” if called upon in an emergency. 

Of those who do not know how to perform CPR, 88% would like to learn and feel they have a responsibility to do so.  The most common place to learn CPR is through workplace First Aid courses.  However, given all the disruption this year, these courses may be less of a priority for many businesses.

Westpac NZ CEO David McLean says the bank wants more New Zealanders to learn the basics of CPR, especially those who spend a lot of time around water.

“In the next few weeks we’re rolling out educational resources to make CPR more accessible for all New Zealanders, including a CPR video demonstration, and a CPR instruction guide that you can save on your phone so it’s always handy,” Mr McLean says.

“We’re also providing all our staff with CPR refresher training over the next 12 months and partnering with Metservice to include CPR instructions in their app which will be available on and offline.

“Water Safety New Zealand statistics show seven children under the age of five drowned last year in preventable circumstances. In many cases, these children are too young to understand water safety so we as a community need to be looking out for them.

“Rescue Rashies are a great tool for keeping kids’ safety front-of-mind, with the added bonus that they provide UPF50+ protection from the sun.  And kids think they look great too.”

Westpac are giving away 150 Rashies to Kiwi kids. To be in to win one, head to westpac.co.nz/rescuerashie and check out the CPR resources available.

The Rescue Rashies site also gives Kiwis a chance to buy a rash vest for themselves.  $15 of the $25 purchase price (plus postage) will be donated to their local rescue helicopter.  The site also has valuable CPR resources for parents.