Top charities join forces to launch Every Child a Lifesaver

Launch of Every Child a Lifesaver campaign

A new campaign has been launched to make first aid compulsory in all state-funded secondary schools

St John Ambulance, the British Heart Foundation, and the British Red Cross have joined forces to launch Every Child a Lifesaver, a campaign to make first aid compulsory in all state-funded secondary schools. Too many people die needlessly where simple first aid could have saved them, but if every child had the opportunity to learn these skills before leaving school, some of those lives could be saved.

On 20 November, the Emergency First Aid Bill will have its second reading in Parliament and it’s our best chance of making first aid compulsory before the next General Election in 2020.

Members of the public are being urged to visit to call on their MP to vote in support of first aid in schools.

Why are we doing this?

There are tens of thousands of medical emergencies every year in the UK, resulting in deaths, injuries and disabilities. Every year, over 30,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of hospital – the vast majority (80%) of them in the home, yet currently, less than one in ten survive. 250,000 people suffer a burn injury each year, with 175,000 of these attending A&E. Few families have not been touched by a medical emergency involving a loved one, yet too many of us would not know how to help them.

What is emergency first aid?

The Bill, tabled by Teresa Pearce MP, will require secondary schools to give young people the skills and confidence to deal with a range of medical emergencies including cardiac arrests, heart attacks, choking, bleeding, asthma attacks, and seizures. Importantly, emergency first aid education ensures that pupils know to seek help and support when needed, including from the emergency services.

The Bill also recognises the emotional needs of people that step in to help in a medical emergency - it prepares young people to deal with situations where their interventions may not have saved a life.

Skills to save a life

Sue Killen, CEO at St John Ambulance, said: ‘Nothing is more important to us than young people learning the skills to save a life. We urge everyone to go to so MPs see that this campaign has backing in every community. Without your support, we can't make this happen; but with your support, we could achieve something brilliant: Every Child a Lifesaver.’

The campaign was launched in Parliament on 16 September and the charities hope that people will call on their MPs to support the bill’s second reading on 20 November.