accessibility & help

Only 7 per cent of UK population have adequate first aid skills, says British Red Cross survey

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Penny Sims
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Results released ahead of World First Aid Day, Saturday 12th September 2009

Just 7 per cent of the UK population are able to correctly recall first aid advice, and feel confident and willing to carry that advice out, according to a new survey by the British Red Cross.

The poll of 2,000 people across the UK asked what action people would take in several scenarios and, more importantly, recorded respondents’ confidence and willingness to act when faced with an emergency situation.

While 60% would be willing to try some first aid, around half of people are worried about doing something wrong.

Joe Mulligan, British Red Cross head of first aid, said:
“The positive thing this research shows us is that there is great willingness from the public to step in, but a lack of confidence or fear of getting something wrong is holding people back. We need to make first aid less intimidating and more accessible. In the same way that everybody knows to call 999 in an emergency, we need to make sure everybody knows what to do until the ambulance arrives.”

The poll, which questioned people’s knowledge about the recovery position, CPR and bleeding wounds, shows that communication about first aid needs to evolve. The British Red Cross is working to simplify first aid teaching to make sure everybody has the skills and confidence to save a life.

Joe Mulligan continues:
“By streamlining advice to the absolute essentials, hopefully we can avoid this confusion. We need to make first aid simple, easy to understand and relevant to people’s lives. The onus is on us as first aid providers to find new and creative ways to reach more people, and get the message out there that all of us have the ability to save a life”.

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The British Red Cross will be holding events around the UK to highlight World First Aid Day

British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.