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Lifesaving fundraisers - coming to a street near you

19 November 2012

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Laura Hinks 0207 877 7524/
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  Lifesaving fundraisers – coming to a street near you

• British Red Cross becomes first charity to equip their street fundraisers with lifesaving defibrillators
• New research by Red Cross reveals just 5 per cent of casualties attending A&E had been treated by a trained first aider
The streets have just become that little bit safer thanks to the British Red Cross who are teaching their street fundraisers how to save lives. In addition to lifesaving skills, each team of fundraisers will be equipped with a defibrillator which can help keep people alive who have suffered a cardiac arrest. The initiative comes as new research, commissioned by the Red Cross, shows that just 5 per cent of casualties attending A&E had been treated by a trained first aider.*

The British Red Cross is the first charity to train its street fundraisers in lifesaving first aid. British Red Cross Director of Fundraising, Mark Astarita, explains: “We are doing it to save lives, we see it as a public duty. Every day all over the UK our fundraisers are out on the streets meeting the public and unfortunately occasionally they may run into people who need help. We want to empower our fundraisers to be able to respond and potentially save lives.”

Face to face fundraisers in London will become the first to be first-aid trained and carry defibrillators but it will be rolled out nationwide next year.

Every year in the UK around 83,000 people die as a result of a heart attack. **
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a machine that can be used to shock the heart back into normal rhythm. Once opened, the machine gives full instructions on what you should do.

British Red Cross head of first aid Joe Mulligan said:”Putting more defibrillators onto the streets will save lives, quite simply. Most patients suffering cardiac arrests will be resuscitated within minutes using a defib so arming our street fundraisers with them, who will working on some of the busiest streets in the country, can only be a very good thing.

“This new initiative to train fundraisers in first aid and equip them with defibrillators is extremely welcome as it will ensure there are more people on the street with the skills, confidence and willingness to help in an emergency.”

British Red Cross street fundraiser Lisa Kent, 32, from Shepherd’s Bush had to put her first aid skills into action two days after her training.
She said: ”I was out fundraising on the street in Sutton when I heard a bit of a commotion. A woman had collapsed and was having an epileptic fit on the pavement, there were lots of people around her but nobody knew what to do.  I put her in the recovery position and phoned an ambulance and waited with her until it arrived.”

Red Cross street fundraiser Teon Blake, 22, from Tottenham, has also had to put his first aid skills into practice while working. He said: “I was fundraising in Wood Green when an elderly man collapsed and hit his head on the pavement. I called an ambulance and kept him conscious and talking. He was very confused and upset and I tried to reassure him and make sure he was as comfortable as possible until the ambulance arrived.”

Lisa, who has worked as a street fundraiser for more than five years, added: “Training all British Red Cross street fundraisers is a wonderful idea as it is the essence of what we do as an organisation – being there for people in crisis.”



Notes to editors
* The research is from "Basic First Aid for common injuries and illnesses in adults: a literature review and evaluation of impact on patient outcomes"  By Professor Suzanne Mason et al, Sheffield University commissioned by the British Red Cross.  The figure is taken from people presenting at A&E with specific conditions which can be treated effectively with first aid.

** Statistic from British Heart Foundation (2011)

The British Red Cross taught 370,000 people first aid last year in the UK.

We have images of street fundraisers Lisa Kent and Teon Blake, please contact Laura Hinks on 0207 877 7524 or email

The 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.