Make First Aid Compulsory: 55% of Deaths Could Have Been Prevented

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The Irish Red Cross is today calling for First Aid Training to be made compulsory as part of school curriculums and driving tests.

Research by the charity shows that only 5% of people in Ireland are trained in first aid.  Speaking at the launch of the first ever National First Aid Day, Fintan Breen, Head of National Services at the Irish Red Cross said, “If only 5% of our population know first aid then that’s only 1 person in every 20”

“Statistics that shows accidental burns, falls and poisoning are among the leading causes of deaths and injuries in Ireland for children aged 0-14 years old and that 55% of deaths of young children and adolescents resulting from injuries could have been prevented,” said Breen.

With 95% of its population trained in first aid, Norway is the leading country in Europe for first aiders, followed by Germany and Austria (80%).  The difference between Ireland and Norway and other countries with a high percentage score is that they have laws that make it compulsory either at school, at the workplace or even when applying for a driving licence. 

Compulsory training helps build communities that are less vulnerable and more resilient to the various risks to which they are exposed. Having to do first aid training to get a driving licence has been compulsory in Austria since 1973, while in Norway, children learn basic first aid techniques at school. The Hungarian Red Cross has been authorized by the government to train people in first aid skills otherwise drivers do not get their driving license.

“The fact that, 70% of European countries - including Ireland - have decided to make first aid training compulsory at the workplace is encouraging and a step in the right direction – but it’s not enough.”

September 21st is Irish Red Cross First Aid Day. To celebrate the charity has released a series of Family First Aid Tips and a free First Aid Poster Guide to download for homes, schools and workplaces on its website

For more information, tips & interviews call Rebecca, Irish Red Cross Media – 087 743 3275 / #Familyfirstaid / @Irishredcross