accessibility & help

Silent house party teaches life-saving first aid tips to young people

For immediate release: Tuesday, July 19, 2011
For further information: Rebecca McIlhone
Contact number: 0117 3012624 / 07525 128297
More than 1,100 young people at the Exodus post-GCSE event in Newquay went to a silent house party with a difference last week, learning an important first aid skill in the process.

The house party marquee, decked out like a living room, was set up on the Killacourt, above Towan Beach, Newquay, last week, by the British Red Cross as part of its Life. Live it. campaign to teach first aid to young people (aged 11-17).

Up to 50 young people at a time could enter the party, dancing to dubstep beats playing on their headphones until the house was plunged into chaos as a teenage girl collapsed unconscious in the middle of the living room. One party-goer would then receive instructions in their headphones on how to do The Pushover – the recovery position rebranded for young people.

Meanwhile members of the Life. Live it. team, dressed in bright red morph suits, patrolled the streets and beaches of Newquay talking to young people about first aid and directing them to the house party.

Ryan Smith, 16, from Newquay, said: At first I saw the guys in the morph suits and wondered what it was all about and what it would be like.

"When I walked in, my first reaction was just to be surprised. When the incident happened it got everybody's attention and loads of us thought it was real. I had learnt the recovery position in the past, but sort of forgot it. It was a good shock to the system and really brought it to the front of my mind."

"I've been in that situation before, but didn't really know what to do. Now I would. I've never seen a charity do anything like this, especially as it's something you can learn from and enjoy at the same time."

Four out of five people responded to the instructions and did the right thing. The young people also watched a Life. Live it. video, reinforcing the life-saving message that if someone is unconscious but breathing, pushing them on their side can prevent them from choking and save their life.

Roger Dickens from the Red Cross, who was at the event last week, said: “It went really well. The team talked to lots of young people and got them to practice The Pushover. I was really impressed by how many people actually knew how to do it. I’d say half the people we met were in that category and we’re hoping this event reached out to even more.”

A Red Cross survey conducted at the start of the campaign showed one in seven (14 per cent) 11-16 year olds has been in an emergency situation as a result of a friend drinking too much alcohol, with half of these having to deal with someone who had passed out through drinking too much. 

When asked what actions they took in response to these situations, 44 per cent said they panicked and 46 per cent said they didn’t know what to do. As this event shows, the right thing to do is give your friend The Pushover, ie, roll them on their side and tilt their head back so their airway is clear and they don’t choke on their vomit.

The Newquay event took place on Towan Beach, Newquay last week and ended on Saturday evening.

Find out how your child can learn more about first aid by visiting


Note to editors

Photographs of the event are available on request.

Research was undertaken by ICM Research between 20th and 31st August 2010 via a telephone survey involving 2,500 11-16 year olds. Of the 2,500 questioned 500 11-16 year olds were based in Wales, 500 in Northern Ireland and 500 in Scotland with 1,000 in England.

ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For further information visit

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.