19 July 2012
Last night saw a Facebook first as it teamed up with the British Red Cross to bring first aid education into the 21st century via a unique social experiment.
From 7pm, thousands of online party-goers interacted with real-life guests as the event – held in a top-secret location – unfolded. Around 150 18 and 19-year-olds attended the party, and London-based four-piece ROOM 94 also dropped in for an impromptu live set.
Secret tasks and surprises
In a mix of reality TV and drama, those taking part online could influence the live action by voting on the music and setting secret tasks for the party-goers. At 10pm, the event took a more serious turn when one guest, an actor, collapsed, and the real-life and online party guests had to decide how to save the young woman’s life.
The online audience voted to help her, sending in two party-goers to call 999 and put the girl in the recovery position.
“Situations like this really do happen,” said Joe Mulligan, head of first aid education at the British Red Cross. “We devised this experience after talking to young people about the situations they find themselves in.
“Something like this, a house party where a young person is going to be the first person on the scene after an accident, shows how important first aid can be. Knowing how to take action in a situation like this could save someone’s life.”
ROOM 94 singer Kieran Lemon agreed: “We've had fans faint during the shows in the past, so we know that first aid is always important. Everyone should know what to do to help in an emergency.
“Last night was about showing the power of having that knowledge and being confident enough to use it – and potentially, saving someone’s life.”
Free resource for schools
Live footage from the event will also be used as part of a new DVD resource for teachers, which will be sent, free, to every secondary school in the UK in September.
The Facebook party is part of the British Red Cross’ Life. Live it. campaign, to bring first aid to a youth audience. Previous activities include a silent disco at youth festivals and a short film, ‘Keep the Party Alive’, shown in cinemas nationwide and across digital platforms.