accessibility & help

First aid: only one in 20

Just one in 20 people would know what to do in a first aid emergency, British Red Cross research has found.

The new research, commissioned by the British Red Cross and conducted by Critical Research, found that:

  • Most adults would not be able to save a life in a first aid emergency.
  • Only five per cent of adults in the UK would feel confident, knowledgeable and willing to help someone who is bleeding heavily, is unresponsive and breathing, or is unresponsive and not breathing.
  • That means that only one in 20 people could confidently help in all three of these emergency scenarios.

Unresponsive and not breathing

Our research shows there is confusion amongst young adults about what action to take when someone is unresponsive and not breathing.

  • Eight in ten adults (85%) lack the knowledge and confidence to act if someone collapsed and was unresponsive and not breathing.
  • We know that willingness to help amongst young adults is high, and 69 per cent of people aged 16–24 say they would be willing to help someone who is unresponsive and not breathing.
  • Yet just 16 per cent have the confidence and knowledge to help someone in this life-threatening situation.

You can help change this

The good news is that together we can help change this. First aid is quick to learn and just a few simple actions in an emergency situation can save someone’s life. That’s why throughout 2018 we’re encouraging everyone to learn first aid.

Learn more about how to help someone who is unresponsive and not breathing.

You can get involved by downloading our free first aid app or booking a first aid course.

You can also learn more about how to help someone who is unresponsive and breathing and someone who is bleeding heavily.

First aid is simple and easy to learn. Join us now and learn how to help save a life.

First aid advice: unresponsive and breathing

A man calls 999 for another man who has collapsed

Learn how to help someone who is unresponsive and breathing.

Learn the skill >

Advice: unresponsive and not breathing

A woman does CPR on a man lying unconscious on the ground

Learn how to give first aid for someone who's unresponsive and not breathing.

Learn the skill >

True stories

Rowan stands at a bus stop where he gave first aid to an 11-year-old schoolboy who was hit by a car

Have you ever been injured and needed first aid? Share your own story with us and read our real-life first aid stories.

Read the stories >

First aid advice: bleeding heavily

Woman gives first aid applying pressure to a wound to stem a heavy bleed.

Learn to help someone who is bleeding heavily.

Learn the skill >

First aid app

An adult hand holding a baby's hand, with screenshot of the Baby and Child First Aid app

Get life-saving skills at your fingertips with our free first aid app for Apple, Android and Windows.

get the app >

Book a first aid course

Learners at a first aid course are trained in CPR

Choose from our public and workplace first aid courses throughout the UK. You can also learn as a group at a venue to suit you.

Book a first aid course >


Save a life: learn first aid

Amanda stands in a kitchen with her granddad, who she helped with first aid when he was bleeding heavily

Amanda's granddad was bleeding heavily after a fall. Luckily, Amanda had learned first aid and knew what to do.

Find out more >