Peter Aldous MP: Increased threat of terror attacks has made first aid skills even more important
It is clear that the wider the knowledge of first aid, the more likely it is that more lives will be saved, says Peter Aldous MP, ahead of World First Aid Day.
As Chairman of the APPG on First Aid I’m very grateful to be writing for PoliticsHome on World First Aid Day which takes place this coming Saturday and which I hope will continue to raise the profile of a simple skill that has helped save millions of lives as well as training countless volunteers in learning about first aid and how to carry it out in a wide variety of locations such as the workplace, schools and at public events.
The APPG, launched in 2012 hears evidence from a number of organisations involved with the promotion of first aid skills and has given MPs a chance to learn some basic first aid skills, and it has become apparent that first aid is something that a lot of people have been aware of but not necessarily had a lot of practical knowledge about.
This year is especially important for first aid as St John Ambulance are celebrating their 140th birthday. A 2016 survey carried out by the charity indicated that only 46% of people have a basic knowledge of first aid, which only demonstrates how much needs to be done to raise awareness in this area. However it is not only St John Ambulance that are responsible for the development of first aid in this country and elsewhere. The Red Cross and Red Crescent are also two fantastic global organisations that work across borders in educating people about first aid across the world, as first aid is obviously a primary concern for the developing world as well as here in the UK and affects everyone no matter what your background is, how old you are or where you live.
However you are most likely to give first aid to someone who you know very well, such as a relative or a work colleague. I know from experiences of my own constituency in Waveney, which has a high proportion of elderly people, as well as the young, who whilst in school are perhaps are not aware of how to carry out first aid and who would benefit enormously from gaining the skills needed that would save the life of a loved one or a passerby who has suffered a medical emergency.
It should also be said that it has now perhaps never been more important to know about the delivery of first aid given the increased threat of an incident, such as a terrorist attack or another attack of some form, that requires the giving of first aid. An incident like this can happen anywhere and at any time, so it is a skill that needs quick thinking and reacting quickly under a great deal of pressure. I hope that through the increased publicity from broadcast and written media surrounding World First Aid Day, advice on delivering first aid will be given a higher prominence than in previous years.
It is clear that the wider the knowledge of first aid, the more likely it is that more lives will be saved, and therefore the importance of promoting World First Aid Day is all the more necessary. I am very pleased to be contributing towards the raising of its profile, and thank all the charities and organisations that are involved in helping to promote this simple but effective skill.
Peter Aldous is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Waveney