With the right first aid skills, anybody can be a lifesaver. The numbers, however, reflect how only a minority of the population are capable of carrying out first aid assistance. In fact, according to the Australian Red Cross, less than 5% of Australians have first aid training, while a study from an Australian Health Organisation reveals that 59% do not feel confident in trying to save a life.
These figures alone should be a compelling enough reason for individuals to go through first aid training and learn the necessary lifesaving skills. On the bright side, more people are calling 000 when faced with an emergency situation. First aid intervention while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, however, is infrequent. People shouldn’t stop at calling 000, as the simplest of actions could save a person's life too.
The Lifesaving Potential of First Aid
Due to the apparent lack of first aid-trained individuals in the country, there is a tendency for those who witness an emergency situation to simply wait for medical services to arrive or to hope that a passerby knows how to administer first aid. Research conducted by the University of Manchester shows, however, that conducting simple first aid procedures before the arrival of emergency medical services could prevent as much as 59% of pre-hospital deaths.
Two Simple Actions to Save a Life
During instances of accidental injury and trauma, it is possible for anyone to intervene and keep a victim alive before they get to the hospital. These two basic first aid skills are:
- Turning an unresponsive victim to their side and tilting their head back to open their airways.
- Applying pressure to bleeding wounds to help stem the flow of blood.
Performing complicated medical operations aren’t necessary — in fact, the two actions mentioned above simply involve putting somebody into a recovery position. Without reacting proactively to an emergency, people could end up ‘effectively watching while a person is dying’, Anne McColl, Director of Education at the Red Cross UK says.
There is a small window of opportunity between dialing 000 and before the ambulance arrives to keep a victim alive. One cannot simply rely on other people to have the skills to treat a victim in critical condition; administering first aid could mean the difference between a life lost and a life saved.