Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Need for First Aid Education

Have you ever been with someone when they suddenly collapse? Would you know what to do if they became unresponsive or if they stopped breathing? Accidents resulting in injuries and deaths do happen every day.

First aid is the initial care given to someone on the occurrence of an accident or sudden illness. It is aimed at preserving lives, preventing deterioration of conditions and promoting quick recovery.

First aid skill does not only seek intervention during emergencies, it also provides a means to accident prevention. During first aid education, participants are often informed on basic personal safety tips aimed at reducing the prevalence of accidents and illnesses.

The need to acquire first aid skills cannot be overemphasized. The following statistics reveal the staggering number of people who are affected by one form of condition or the other. These conditions require first aid intervention.
  1.  About 1.24 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people, aged 15-29 years.
  2. Injuries resulting from traffic collisions, drowning, poisoning, falls or burns and violence from assault, self-inflicted violence or acts of war kill more than five million people worldwide annually and cause harm to millions more.
  3. Emergencies, conflicts, and disasters happen frequently, including natural disasters, chemical or radio-logical incidents, complex emergencies, and deliberate events.
  4. According to WHO data, in 2004 an estimated 346,000 people died worldwide from unintentional poisoning.
  5. 5 million snakebites occur each year, resulting in up to 2.5 million envenoming’s, at least 100,000 deaths and around three times as many amputations and other permanent disabilities.
  6. Over 800, 000 people die by suicide every year - that’s one person every 40 seconds.
  7. An estimated 265,000 deaths every year are caused by burns - the vast majority occur in low- and middle-income countries. Nonfatal burn injuries are a leading cause of morbidity. Burns occur mainly in the home and workplace.
  8. Around 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy.
  9. That 372,000 people drown worldwide each year. Drowning is among the ten leading causes of death for children and young people in every region of the world - World Health Organization (WHO)
  10. Every year, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke. Nearly 6 million die and another 5 million are left permanently disabled - World Heart Federation (WHF)
  11. Every year, 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. 15% of people who have a heart attack will die from it -
  12. About 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States of America.
  13. About 88% of cardiac arrests occur at home.
  14. Only 32% of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander - American Heart Association (AHA)
  15. In Europe, the incidence of sudden cardiac arrest is estimated at between 350,000 and 700,000 people.
  16. Worldwide, it is estimated that approximately 150,000 people die from drowning each year, and the majority are children.
  17. Diarrhea and pneumonia still kill almost 3 million children less than 5 years old annually, especially in low-income countries.
  18. More than 500,000 women die of complications during pregnancy or childbirth annually, 99% of them in developing countries - European Resuscitation Council (ERC)
  19. Every 15 seconds, 153 workers have a work-related accident.
  20. There are 313 million non-fatal accidents per year - International Labour Organization (ILO)

 The data are not exhaustive. All the aforementioned could occur in situations where there are bystanders and citizens’ response would be required to intervene in order to mitigate against the effects of such emergency.


The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends learning Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) as a means to reduce deaths from drowning; similarly, the American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that up to 200,000 lives (in the US alone) could be saved each year if CPR was performed early enough.

Thousands of lives are saved each year by ordinary people who chose to learn first aid in preparation for possible health emergencies.

First Aid enhances the development and achievement of a sense of solidarity, generosity and altruism that exists in each of us and gives another dimension to citizenship and community spirit. - International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

First Aid Saves Lives. Remember, the life you would be saving could be that of your loved ones.

By Akinfosile Dare Joseph,
OSH Professional | First Aid Instructor

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