Too many know too little first aid: St John Ambulance

UP TO 150,000 people a year could be dying unnecessarily because too few citizens know first aid, a charity warned today.

Almost 900 people a year choke to death in situations where first aid could potentially make a difference, while 2,500 suffocate due to a blocked airway, and 29,000 die from heart attacks.

Today, as St John Ambulance launches a new campaign to get more people to learn first aid skills, its survey of 2,000 people finds that 59 per cent would not feel confident trying to save a life.

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Meanwhile, almost a quarter (24 per cent) would do nothing if they saw somebody struggling and would either wait for an am-bulance to arrive or hope that a passer-by might know first aid.

Sue Killen, chief executive of St John Ambulance, said: “We believe that anyone who needs first aid should receive it but our latest research shows that’s just not happening.

“We can’t rely on other people to have the skills – everyone should take the responsibility to learn first aid themselves.

“Armed with this knowledge, we can all be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

“Around 2,500 people die each year from a blocked airway, but if someone had known the recovery position, lives could have been saved.”

The charity has launched a free pocket guide to first aid which maps out what to do in five life-threatening situations. People can get it by texting LIFE to 85010.