First Aid saves lives

Two out of three people couldn't save a life in an emergency.

St John Ambulance also reveals a quarter of us in the West Midlands would just stand by and watch as someone dies - with the same amount thinking they know what to do when in fact they make the situations worse.

First aid could make a dramatic difference, either through direct intervention, in the case of choking, or by recognising life-threatening signs, such as a heart attack, and caring for someone until medical help arrives.

Richard Green, County Chief Executive Officer in West Midlands says: 'We believe that anyone who needs first aid should receive it and yet, as our latest research shows, that’s not happening. 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.'

Scenario 1:

  • If a man was thrown off his motorbike and not breathing, over two-fifths say they'd know what to do. However, of these people, 42% would make the mistake of not moving him for fear of spinal injury, yet if he’s not breathing and CPR is not given, he'll die.
  • If someone was choking, only half would intervene with back blows - the correct procedure. Worryingly 1 in 10 would stick their fingers down his or her throat which could push the obstruction further down.
  • For a middle-aged man with chest pains, 6% would put him in the recovery position while waiting for an ambulance which would not relieve the strain on the heart and may aggravate the condition, instead they should sit him in a comfortable position.

Act Now:

St John Ambulance is committed to ensuring everyone has the basic first aid knowledge that could save someone's life. To get your free pocket sized guide, just text LIFE to 85010 or visit the St John Ambulance website

You can also get advice on your iPhone with the St John Ambulance first aid app, available through iTunes.


True Story from the Midlands:

Chloe, Raydene & Chennelle Hawthorne11 year old Chloe Hawthorne saved her older sister Chennelle's life.

Kidderminster Cadet Chennelle Hawthorne has an extra special bond with her sister Chloe - because she saved her life!

On Monday 8 March (2010) Chloe and Chennelle who are cadets with Kidderminster
St John Ambulance got home from school when Chennelle was complaining of feeling unwell with a tummy ache.

Both Chennelle and Chloe went upstairs to Chennelle's bedroom where at around 9pm, Chloe noticed that Chennelle was acting strangely and not as she normally does. Chloe suspected that her sister's blood sugar level had dropped so she did a blood sugar test reading on Chennelle's arm, having seen Chennelle do this to herself before. The reading came back as "low " and " zero ". This had never happened before and Chloe realised that her sister was in serious trouble.

Chloe alerted their mother, who was downstairs at the time. When they both got back upstairs, Chennelle was barely conscious on her bed. Chloe tried to give her sister a drink and some food but this did not appear to help Chennelle come round from her diabetic episode. The girls mum called a specialist diabetes clinic and was then immediately advised to dial 999 for the Ambulance Service. 

Chloe got Chennelle's Hypostop gel and Glucagon needle ready to assist the Ambulance Service once they arrived. Chloe stayed talking to Chennelle and reassuring her.  Once the ambulance crew arrived she continued to stay with her sister and assisted the Ambulance Service. Chennelle did later go to Kidderminster Hospital for a check up - where it was diagnosed that the sudden diabetic attack had probably been brought on by a tummy bug.

The Ambulance crew said that Chloe more or less 'saved her sister's life' and were impressed with Chloe's actions. Chloe now hopes to become a Paramedic when she is old enough.

Mum Raydene said: 'If Chloe hadn't been there I dread to think what might have happened; I am amazed by the skills shown by Chloe and what both girls have learnt through St John Ambulance Cadets. I really feel that Chloe saved her sister's life.'