Belmont, Perth,

Research shows importance of keeping vital skills up to date

New St John Ambulance WA research shows recency of training has a profound influence on people’s confidence in delivering first aid.

The Roy Morgan research showed confidence and ability doubled when people had done first aid training in the past 12 months compared to having trained more than five years ago.

St John Ambulance Western Australia Chief Executive Officer Tony Ahern said the results were proof that keeping up to date with first aid skills was important.

“We believe annual training is very important if people are going to be faced with a life and death situation such as choking or giving CPR to a cardiac arrest victim,” he said.

“When we asked people about confidence in giving CPR, 83 per cent of those who trained in the past 12 months said they were confident in using the skills but this dropped to 43 per cent for those who had trained more than five years ago.”

The research also showed the number of people in the community who had the propensity to save a life was 260 per thousand, or 26 per cent of the population.

Last year’s research indicated 25 per cent of the population felt they could save a life using their first aid skills.

This figure takes into consideration a person’s confidence to respond to a number of first aid scenarios and how recently they have been trained – it is not simply a measure of how many people have learned first aid.

Mr Ahern said the increase was modest but St John was committed to making first aid a part of everyone’s life.

“Clearly, our vision is a long term one and one per cent, equating to an extra 10 people per 1000 is a great start and it shows that our concerted efforts to promote first aid training over the past two years are having an impact,” Mr Ahern said.

“If we can push that number up each year it means we build a more resilient community.

“If more people have the skills, we will get better outcomes when people, for example, have a cardiac arrest and need immediate CPR, or just need an airway to be maintained after getting into a car crash.”

The survey reveals about 82 per cent of the population have completed a training course at some point in their life but only 30 per cent had done so in the past three years.

St John recommends that people complete a first aid course annually to ensure strong confidence levels and up to date skills.

The data comes from a Roy Morgan Research survey commissioned by St John to get a better understanding of first aid in the WA community.

In 2013/14 St John trained more than 220,000 people in WA, which was a 16 per cent improvement on the previous year. St John is the state’s leader in first aid training.