A dramatic new advert by St John Ambulance (SJA) has highlighted the severe lack of basic first aid knowledge in the UK population. According to the clip, up to 150, 000 deaths each year are preventable if people knew and used basic first aid skills. That’s equivalent to the number of people who die each year from cancer.
The advert, first shown on Sunday during Downton Abbey, aims to encourage people to brush up on first aid and learn the basic skills. It follows a man who recovers from cancer only to die choking at a barbecue when no one there knows what to do.
A survey by the charity revealed that only 18 per cent of people know basic first aid.
Sue Killen, SJA chief executive, said: "Cancer is a serious disease, which kills tens of thousands of people each year. When a loved one has cancer, although we do all we can to support them, over three-quarters of people are consumed by a feeling of helplessness.
"In situations where first aid could help save a life we don't have to feel helpless, because learning life-saving skills is so simple. That's why it's so concerning that fewer than one in five of us knows even basic first aid. This has got to change if we are to stop up to 140,000 lives from being needlessly lost each year."
The charity also recently launched an online game designed to introduce players to basic first aid and teach “not beat ‘em up, but fix ‘em up”. Called Rescue Run, it’s free to play and no prior knowledge is necessary.
Find a first aid course near you at the SJA website.