Number of Canadians trained in first aid at dangerous low, suggests new poll

Topics: National, First Aid and CPR
September 05, 2012


(Ottawa) – Recent polling by the Red Cross shows that nearly 40 per cent of Canadians say they have been in an emergency situation where they have had to perform first aid; however, only 18 per cent are currently certified. Ahead of World First Aid Day September 8th, the Canadian Red Cross is calling on all Canadians to ensure they have the skills needed to save lives when an emergency happens.

“First aid is personal,” says Don Marentette, national manager of first aid programs with the Canadian Red Cross. “Canadians are more likely to use first aid skills to save the life of a loved one than anyone else. These are the stories you don’t often hear about, a mother saving her child from choking, for example.”

While many people believe first aid is usually administered on strangers, polling shows that nearly 60 per cent of Canadians who have had to provide first aid did so to help a family member.

“Although 68 per cent of Canadians say they can recognize the signs of a life-threatening health emergency, like choking or cardiac arrest, fewer than half believe they have the skills to provide life-saving basic first aid,” adds Marentette. “The Red Cross believes lapsed training and Canadians’ low confidence in their ability to save a life are directly related, and pose a risk in emergencies.”

There is a significant gap between Canadians’ perception of the importance of taking a first aid course, and actually taking one. Although nearly 98 per cent of Canadians say knowing how to perform first aid is important, 82 per cent have not taken a first aid course within the last three years.

The Canadian Red Cross is a leading provider of first aid and CPR programs and has been offering first aid and CPR training to Canadians for over 50 years. For more information or to find a course near you, visit

Section Widgets