Accidents and first aid


Getting help in an emergency

999 has been the emergency services number in the UK for many years but you can now also call 112 to get help.

112 is the single emergency telephone number for the European Union. European citizens in distress situations should be able to call the phone number 112 and get through to the emergency services wherever they are.

Many accidents happen when travelling abroad so it is worth remembering that calling 112 can get you the emergency assistance you need when in the UK or Europe.

Every year in the UK, thousands of people die or are seriously injured in accidents. Many of these deaths could be prevented if first aid was given at the scene before emergency services arrive.

Emergency first aid is the treatment of any injury or sudden illness, such as a heart attack or stroke, before professional medical help can be provided. The aim is to prevent the condition worsening, aid recovery and preserve life.

First aid is not medical treatment, and can not replace what a doctor can do. It simply involves making common sense decisions to help injured people.

Why first aid is important

Figures from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) show that over five million people in the UK are involved in accidents every year.

In the UK more accidents happen in the home than anywhere else. There are approximately 4000 deaths as the result of home accidents every year. So the place you are most likley to need first aid skills is in your own home.

In an emergency, you should always seek medical assistance first by calling 999 (or 112 across Europe) to ask for an ambulance, and then take appropriate steps to maintain life until help arrives.

Having a knowledge of first aid in an emergency situation, can mean the difference between temporary or permanent injury, rapid recovery or long-term disability, and the difference between life and death.

A knowledge of first aid is also useful in non-emergency situations. It teaches you the correct way to deal with injuries such as burns, cuts and stings, avoiding complications and making the healing process easier.

First aid courses

The information on these pages gives some guidance on common first aid situations, but it is not a replacement for doing a first aid training course. Basic first aid courses are run regularly in most areas around the UK. St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross both provide a selection of first aid courses.

Last reviewed: 30/09/2009

Next review due: 30/09/2011


burcuguide said on 13 June 2009

if it is that importanat why dont nhs give free first aid courses?and why all first aid courses are so expensive?

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