accessibility & help

British Red Cross invites young drivers to attend free first aid course

14 March 2013

For immediate release  Thursday 7 March, 2013
For further information  Samantha Whitwham
Contact number  0117 3012608 or 07834 525 350
The British Red Cross is giving up to 15 young drivers the chance to attend a free first aid course tailored to the types of injuries suffered in road traffic accidents.

The course is for anyone between the ages of 17 and 25 who is either learning to drive or has recently passed their test. The idea is the course will give them first aid skills to use if they were involved in a road traffic accident or if they encountered one and stopped to help.

The course is being held at Westlea Fire Station on Tuesday 19 March between 6.30pm and 9pm in support of the Safe Drive Stay Alive initiative run by a partnership of local agencies, including Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. The first course will be held as a pilot but if successful, it could be replicated in other parts of the county in the future.

One in eight driving licence holders are under the age of 25 – yet one in three people who die on the roads are under 25. And because of the rurality of Wiltshire, first aid given at the scene of an accident could be vital in keeping someone alive until the ambulance arrives.

Jo Riches, first aid trainer at the Red Cross, said: “The first ten minutes can mean the difference between life and death at an accident, but even if people do know first aid a lot of people are injured themselves while trying to help. The first aid you give as the first on the scene of an accident is very important but a key part of what we teach is how not to add to the problem by becoming a casualty yourself.

“For example, if you come across an accident and need to warn other traffic, stand on the pavement and direct traffic from there rather than putting yourself in danger by standing in the road.

“We also advise people on useful safety items they can carry with them in the boot of their car. Foil blankets don’t cost very much but can protect people from the elements if they have a crash in very cold weather. A torch and a high-visibility jacket are also great things to carry with you, making you visible to other traffic on a dark night and preventing further accidents.”

When Safe Drive Stay Alive started in 2006, there were 403 young people (aged 16-19) killed or injured on Wiltshire’s roads that year. In 2011, this had been reduced to 221.

Ian Hopkins, road safety development manager at Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Young drivers are likely to be involved in a considerably higher number of road traffic collisions than the rest of the driving population. Equipping them with the skills and knowledge to be better placed to help in the event of a crash can therefore only be a good thing, and we very much welcome this initiative by the British Red Cross.”

The first aid course will use Everyday First Aid - the charity’s simplest ever method of teaching life-saving skills – and will use scenario-based teaching to cover everything from head injuries, to broken bones, bleeding and shock. Developed specifically to be easy to learn, easy to do and easy to fit in with people’s busy lives, Everyday First Aid teaches what to do in real-life scenarios.

Jo explains: “The fire service is providing us with a car to use so that we can set up a scenario with several casualties and challenge our young drivers to make decisions about who to help first. Nobody knows, until they are faced with an emergency, how they will react but I hope the skills these young drivers will learn with the Red Cross will give them the confidence to act if they ever find themselves in that situation.”

To book a place on the course, or enquire about other first aid courses run by the Red Cross, please contact Jo Riches on 01793 859933 or email

For more information about Everyday First Aid please visit


Notes to editors

The Safe Drive Stay Alive Roadshow is based on powerful personal testimonies designed to make the audience aware of the nature and extent of the personal tragedy and suffering that a road traffic collision can and does cause.

Safe Drive Stay Alive is a local road safety partnership between Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service, Wiltshire Police, and South Wilts Intervention for Trauma and the Wiltshire & Swindon Road Safety Units.

More information can be found here

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.

Follow us on Twitter:@BRC_West

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