Hundreds of you have already come forward to learn vital first aid but we need even more
The Derby Telegraph and St John Ambulance have teamed up to encourage readers to learn first aid – as part of our Save a Life campaign. Carl Makins , the charity's delivery co-ordinator for schools and community training, explains why training is so important.
SADLY, too many people still die today when first aid could help them to live.
St John Ambulance wants to change people's misconceptions about first aid and prevent unnecessary deaths – by encouraging more people to learn vital life-saving skills.
Nothing is more rewarding than the ability to save a life.
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But research found less than one in five Derby people know even the basic skills to make a difference between a life lost and saved.
People are going to great lengths to improve their lifestyles – for example by changing their diet, giving up smoking and increasing the amount of exercise they do.
But, when it comes to first aid, it is taken far less seriously – with only 3% of people downloading a first aid app or watching instructional videos online.
But both of these are readily available for free and could easily help them save a life. Our research also shows people tend not to learn first aid because they think it is time-consuming – or it is simply not a priority for them.
Indeed almost two-fifths of people admitted it would take something as severe as the death of a loved one to make them learn first aid.
This has got to change if we are to stop up to 140,000 lives from being lost across the country each year.
As the nation's leading first-aid charity, we teach more people first aid than any other organisation. We teach young people in schools and through our youth programmes, we teach employees for their workplaces and we teach people in the community.
Our volunteers also provide first aid at events, act as first responders to NHS emergency calls in the community or support their local ambulance service.
Our trained and equipped volunteers are a familiar and reassuring sight at many public events – helping people receive crucial first aid when they need it.
Volunteers like James Sharman, from Derbyshire, who saved a colleague's life when she suffered a severe allergic reaction whilst out for a meal. And Keith Cokayne, who recently retired after 60 years and attended around 2,500 matches at Derby County Football Club.
First aid is simple to learn and it can be the difference between life and death. That's why we are so pleased to be part of the Derby Telegraph's Save a Life campaign.
More than 250 readers have already joined us on Essential First Aid courses as a result of this campaign – this is a fantastic amount and we are so pleased people are taking the time to learn these vital life-saving skills.
St John Ambulance and the Derby Telegraph, through the campaign, are reminding people it only takes a couple of hours to learn to save a life – and we are offering readers the chance to learn first aid at a discounted rate.
There are two courses on offer through this campaign – a two-hour Essential First Aid Course for £10 and an Essential First Aid All Ages course for £15.
I have been teaching first aid for nearly 20 years and there have been countless examples of people who have attended our courses and then used their skills to save a life – many of which have been shared through the Save a Life campaign.
One boy we trained was able to save the life of his father when he collapsed and stopped breathing.
His mother told us that, if the boy had not been there and known what to do, his father would not be alive today. Words cannot express how much that meant to the family, and to us.
On another occasion, I was running a community roadshow at Carsington Water when a woman and her husband came over to me.
She remembered me because I had trained her 18 months previously on a Community First Aid course. She told me she had woken up one morning and her husband suddenly collapsed in the bedroom doorway.
She rang the ambulance and checked to see if he was breathing – he wasn't.
She delivered CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and the ambulance crews arrived and used their defibrillator. Her husband went on to make a full recovery.
People may not think that learning first aid is a priority – but just think of the reassurance of knowing you have the skills to help someone close to you if needed in an emergency.
By taking three hours out of your time, and £15 out of your pocket, it's a small price for the life of a loved one.
And, for workplaces – where first aid is often seen as fulfilling a legislative requirement rather than a necessary life skill – we can help employers ensure they have first-aid cover on site.
Our message is first aid is simple to learn and there are many ways you can do it – St John Ambulance regularly runs community and workplace first aid courses, we have a first-aid app which is free to download, first aid videos and a game on our website or you can text HELP to 80039 for a free first-aid guide.
We will also be running community roadshows across Derbyshire throughout the year.
To find out more about St John Ambulance, to sign up for a first-aid course or to join as a volunteer, call 08700 10 49 50 or visit www.sja.org.uk.