Skiing accidents, tree-trimming mishaps and hypothermia were all part of the imaginary carnage at a first aid training session, designed to bring volunteers up to speed with new health and safety laws.

Twenty representatives from Whangarei non-profit organisations took part in the 12-hour course - spread over two days - this week. The course was provided through Volunteering Northland and a Pub Charity grant which covered 90 per cent of the workshop costs.

For New Zealand Rugby League participant Phillip Tana, an imaginary ailment came from the ski field, not the league field, as May Seager, from Northland Pacific Islands Charitable Trust, tended to a "gash" from a ski pole.

Red Cross first aid training co-ordinator Kevin Spill said his organisation's aim was to get a first aider in every household in the country.

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"Most people end up doing the training through work - but the reality is, most accidents happen outside the workplace, at home," he said.

Volunteering Northland's Trish Clarke said the two-day workshop filled quickly when first advertised and the organisation was looking at holding another in October for the 24 organisations which had been wait-listed.

It was also looking at hosting the days in Kaipara, Kaikohe and Kaitaia.

She said recent changes to the Health and Safety at Work Act had highlighted the need for community organisations to keep their teams safe.

"Many of the participants are from organisations that work with the public or host workshops, with groups of volunteers also working out in the environment or in remote locations," Ms Clarke said.

As well as recruiting and referring volunteers to a huge range of organisations across the district, Volunteering Northland supports and provides training for the volunteer co-ordinators, raising the level of professionalism in the sector.

For details on how to become a volunteer or register an organisation to recruit volunteers visit volunteeringnorthland.nz, 09 945 4948 or see the team at 71 Bank St, Whangarei.