MSPs Say Count Me In

An impressive cross-party array of MSPs from all corners of Scotland recently attended a reception at the Scottish Parliament to pledge their support for the St Andrew’s First Aid Count Me In Campaign.

The Count Me In campaign aims to achieve 34,000 signatures of  support ahead of Scottish First Aid Week 2014 – which is the same number of Scots admitted to hospital each year as a result of burns, falls and choking; common accidents that require emergency attention. The main theme of the campaign is that no-one should die because they needed First Aid and didn’t get it’, building on the fact that despite the difference it could make, fewer than one in four Scots (23%) have any form of training in the skills required to administer First Aid.

Sponsored by MSP for Glasgow Drew Smith, the reception allowed MSPs to learn more about the life-saving work of Scotland’s leading First Aid charity. First Aid Youth Cadets and Trainers joined together to give a First Aid demonstration on choking followed by instructions on how use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). MSP for Glasgow, Drew Smith, said, “I am pleased to be able to support St Andrew’s First Aid, and help to raise awareness of its work in the Scottish Parliament. First Aid is a vital skill, and I am grateful to St Andrew’s First Aid for the work that they do to train volunteers across Scotland in order that they have the confidence and skills to deliver First Aid.”

Commenting on the evening Stuart Callison, CEO of St Andrew’s First Aid said: “We are really pleased to have enjoyed such significant support for our Count Me In campaign amongst Scotland’s MSPs. First aid can be life-saving – literally. Research shows we have become too dependent on the emergency services and, as a result, are losing sight of the need for basic First Aid skills. This is not only putting unnecessary pressure on our emergency services, but is also putting individuals at risk. We need both politicians and the Scottish public to support this campaign to ensure that First Aid can continue to save lives in the Scotland.”

The event highlighted the importance of public access to AEDs. For every minute that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation are not received following Sudden Cardiac Arrest, a casualty’s chances of survival decrease by 7-10%. It is therefore very important that bystanders are willing and are able to help. Many MSPs showed great interest in signing up for a two-hour First Aid training session to cover vital practical skills such as how to deal with choking, fainting, wounds and bleeding, CPR and how to use an AED. These bespoke First Aid Training sessions will be provided to MSPs at Holyrood in the coming months, designed to equip them with the knowledge and skills to manage life’s little – and sometimes big – emergencies in their constituencies.

Everyone left with a special Parliamentary First Aid kit, which included a selection of dressings and bandages, suitable for carrying whilst working in constituencies, as well as a copy of the new 10th edition of the First Aid manual which was launched last week. This award-winning manual is written in conjunction with St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross and published by Dorling Kindersley and contains the most up-to-date First Aid advice with some notable changes to advice on dealing with choking in babies.

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