St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity, had voiced his view that UK businesses have an important role to play in offering more first aid training and reducing needless deaths.

In a speech entitled ‘Making good Samaritans, Richard Evens, commercial training director, he has stated that the only way to encourage more people to help in an emergency is to equip them with the skills to save lives.

Mr Evens said: ‘Underlying this whole debate about whether to help in an emergency is our attitude towards first aid. In the UK we have one of the lowest levels of first aid training in Europe, yet we know that up to 150,000 people die each year in situations where first aid could have made the difference.’

He continued: ‘If more people were trained in first aid this would make a tremendous contribution to reassuring event organisers, businesses and the general public that effective help was at hand to deal with everyday accidents. Maybe then we would see less hypersensitivity to risk and regulation and more people would offer help in emergency situations’.

The charity recently found that 1 in 4 people would stand by and do nothing in an emergency.

Evens believes that  first aid training should be offered by employers, maybe as part of an employee benefit package or CSR initiative; in schools, as part of the national curriculum; and in the community to help access hard to reach members of society such as the homeless.

‘Serious accidents or illnesses can happen at any time in any place to anyone and first aid can be applicable at any time, in any place to help anyone. If as a nation we don’t take first aid more seriously, innocent lives will continue to be lost.