Three charities are calling for first aid to be made part of the school curriculum after it emerged that 95% of adults would not know how to help in an emergency.
According to research by the British Red Cross, only 5% of the adult population felt they had sufficient knowledge and confidence to help if someone was bleeding heavily, unresponsive and breathing, or unresponsive and not breathing.
Seven in 10 adults admitted they would not know how to act if they had found somebody who had collapsed, while almost the same number of people said they would not be able confidently to deal with somebody who was bleeding heavily.
Another survey by the British Heart Foundation discovered that 60% would not know what to do if they found someone having a cardiac arrest. Only 20% of people were able to correctly identify the signs of a cardiac arrest.
The British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross and St John Ambulance – which have formed the Every Child a Lifesaver coalition – said hundreds of thousands of people would be equipped with the skills to save somebody’s life if students received one hour of first aid education at school every year.
Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: “CPR really is the difference between life and death for thousands of people every year in the UK who suffer a cardiac arrest. Every second counts, so it is vital that school children across the UK are equipped with this simple, life-saving skill.
“It takes less than an hour to learn CPR, so dedicating just one PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) lesson per year could create a generation of lifesavers.”
In order to achieve its aim of getting first aid and CPR on the curriculum, the charities are asking for responses to the Government’s Changes to the teaching of Sex and Relationship Education and PSHE call for evidence, which closes on 12 February.