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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 17:34 EDT

Watching TV Can Help With First Aid Clues

February 2, 2009

A new survey suggests that watching TV shows like Casualty and ER makes people confident enough to try and resuscitate people in real life, as a poll of just fewer than 2,000 people showed one in five would try.

However, some 77 percent of people do not know how to give cardiopulmonary resuscitation properly, according to the survey for first aid associations.

“People should not be frightened of trying, even if they have only seen it done before on TV,” said St. John Ambulance spokeswoman Isobel Sternfeld.

“When you’re talking about things like CPR, you can’t make things worse,” she added.

“If someone’s not breathing, they’re not breathing. If you don’t do anything, they’re still not breathing, but if you do something you will be giving them a chance.”

Road traffic accidents involve over a quarter of a million people every year, BBC News reports. Their prognosis can be affected by who gets to them first. And 4,000 people die in accidents in the home, with 2.7 million going to A&E departments for treatment each year.

St. John Ambulance, St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association and the British Red Cross conducted the survey to accompany First Aid Awareness Week.

It found only one in four people are fully confident they could give CPR, but it also showed that men are more confident about their abilities, as 30 percent of the men surveyed would attempt resuscitation, compared with 20 percent of women.

However, a majority of those questioned said they did not know how to treat minor everyday injuries.

Among those involved with the survey, 60 percent were unaware of the correct way to deal with a nosebleed and 57 percent did not know how to help someone who had passed out. One in three did not know what to do if a toddler was choking.

“We want to empower everyone to know what to do in an emergency,” said Andrew New from St. John Ambulance.

“First aid is easy if you know what to do. You can go on a course to learn from the experts or buy the new manual that provides a simple step-by-step guide to how to deal with many different situations.

New suggested no home should be without one of the life-saving manuals.

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