New research shows people unlikely to help in an emergency without first aid skills

stranger step in to help in an emergency

St John Ambulance has published new research showing that a new law to protect everyday heroes from being sued if they help in an emergency will have little effect unless people have the skills to save a life.

Today, our findings have been submitted to a governmental committee which is considering the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill (SARAH).

The statistics

Our research* looks at the reasons why people might be put off helping in an emergency situation. The results show that people are more likely not to help because of a lack of confidence in their first aid knowledge (63%), rather than because of feeling worried about the legal consequences (34%). When we asked participants if the SARAH Bill would make any difference to whether they help or not, over two thirds (68%) said it would not.

The survey also showed that 57% of those who were first aid trained would immediately step forward in the case of a life-threatening injury, whereas 32% of those without any training would not give first aid at all.

Bill does not go far enough

While we welcome the new legislation that will encourage more people to help their fellow citizens, we believe the SARAH Bill does not go far enough. With the largest proportion of the population without any first aid training being 18-24 year olds (53% of this age group), we are calling on the government to commit to putting first aid on the national curriculum, to ensure the next generation have the confidence to save lives.

Sue Killen, Chief Executive of St John Ambulance said: ‘This bill has the potential to encourage more people to offer help in an emergency, but it will have little impact if people don’t have the training and confidence they need to step in and treat someone in urgent need of first aid.

‘We meet countless people each year whose first aid training has meant they could act quickly, and save a stranger or family member’s life. First aid saves lives. If the government is serious about creating a nation of heroes, they must ensure that every child leaves school with the skills to be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.’

For further information, download our submission to the Public Bill Committee.