A nationwide survey of first aid training and encounters in Norway

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Background: Bystander first aid can improve survival following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest or trauma. Thus, providing first aid education to laypersons may lead to better outcomes. In this study, we aimed to establish the prevalence and distribution of first aid training in the populace, how often first aid skills are needed, and self-reported helping behaviour. Methods: We conducted a telephone survey of 1000 respondents who were representative of the Norwegian population. Respondents were asked where and when they had first aid training, if they had ever encountered situations where first aid was necessary, and stratified by occupation. First aid included cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and basic life support (BLS). To test theoretical first aid knowledge, respondents were subjected to two hypothetical first aid scenarios. Results: Among the respondents, 90% had received first aid training, and 54% had undergone first aid training within the last 5 years. The workplace was the most common source of first aid training. Of the 43% who had been in a situation requiring first aid, 89% had provided first aid in that situation. There were considerable variations among different occupations in first aid training, and exposure to situations requiring first aid. Theoretical first aid knowledge was not as good as expected in light of the high share who had first aid training. In the presented scenarios 42% of respondent would initiate CPR in an unconscious patient not breathing normally, and 46% would provide an open airway to an unconscious road traffic victim. First aid training was correlated with better theoretical knowledge, but time since first aid training was not. Conclusions: A high proportion of the Norwegian population had first aid training, and interviewees reported high willingness to provide first aid. Theoretical first aid knowledge was worse than expected. While first aid is part of national school curriculum, few have listed school as the source for their first aid training.




Bakke, H. K., Steinvik, T., Angell, J., & Wisborg, T. (2017). A nationwide survey of first aid training and encounters in Norway. BMC Emergency Medicine, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12873-017-0116-7

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