Up to 59 per cent of ‘pre-hospital’ deaths from injury could potentially be prevented if more people stepped in with some simple first aid, according to new research commissioned by the British Red Cross and conducted by the University of Manchester.
While 93 per cent will call for an ambulance if they find someone with an injury, first aid intervention of any kind was infrequent. Around half did not attempt any first aid while waiting for the emergency medical services to arrive*. The research, which has studied data from coroners’ offices, was last carried out 22 years ago by Prof Anthony Redmond of the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, who also led the new research which was conducted by Dr Govind Oliver from the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute.
The two first aid skills identified by the British Red Cross as being the most essential in cases of accidental injury and trauma are:
If they are unresponsive and breathing:
1. Open the person’s airway so they can continue to breathe. Do this by placing them on their side with their head tilted back.
If they are bleeding heavily:
2. Stop them from bleeding to death. Do this by putting pressure on any heavily bleeding wounds
Joe Mulligan, British Red Cross Head of First Aid Education said: “The good news is that most people are calling 999. But after calling 999 we want people to then do something in those crucial minutes before the ambulance arrives. Every person needs to recognise that in an emergency, you are part of the ‘chain of survival.”
The British Red Cross is calling for everyone in the UK to learn two basic first aid skills that could help to reduce the number of people who die from injuries, such as those resulting from falls or road traffic accidents, before reaching hospital.
Joe Mulligan continues: “Sadly in the majority of deaths we looked at, the simplest interventions could have helped keep someone alive until they got to hospital. For example something as simple as turning someone on their side and tilting their head back to keep their airway open – could be all it takes to make that difference between life and death in certain situations”.
The charity is also calling for more opportunities to learn first aid throughout one’s lifetime, starting at school, but also through the driving test and public health initiatives.
Find the report and more about the British Red Cross campaign online at: redcross.org.uk/dontstopat999