Knowing the rescue gestures is what many French people want, but less than one in two say they have mastered them, which puts France far behind several European neighbors.
In nine out of ten emergencies, the life of a loved one is at stake. However, the level of professionalism of the French population is among the lowest in Europe, driven by the French Red Cross ahead of the “World’s First Aid Day”.
Today, only 40% of the French are trained in rescue gestures. “We believe that this figure should be doubled,” Philippe da Costa, president of the Red Cross, told AFP.
This was also the goal of President Emmanuel Macron: 80% of the population were trained at the end of his first five-year term.
Norway, Austria or Germany have already reached this ratio.
“When you ask the French, 80% think they are unprepared or ill-prepared for a crisis or natural disaster,” says Philippe da Costa.
However, there is a desire to train: two out of three French people want to know what gestures save, he assures.
For example, 38-year-old François Breeret, who last weekend at the Red Cross in Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts-de-Seine) took a course in first aid for children and babies.
“I was inspired to do this by the birth of my little boy, who is just over a year old today,” he says. “It’s good to know that we know gestures that save if something happens to him.”
Yelena Shmygina, 45, who works part-time at a kindergarten, says the training is “necessary” for her job. But also for everyday life. “I ride a scooter and have already witnessed an accident: that day I felt completely helpless,” she recalls.
The program has three main modules: how to respond in case of suffocation, bleeding or loss of consciousness.
– From the age of three –
Knowing the gestures that save is the desire of many French people, but less than one in two say they have mastered them.
Using dummies, the trainer shows the participants what to do in case of an emergency: slaps on the back or finger pressure on the sternum, a pressure bandage to stop the bleeding, a safe position on the side to fix the victim and help her breathe …
Gestures are played and repeated several times. “There, we are in danger of life, as soon as the victim breathes, I call emergency services!” The coach launches.
“You can be trained from the age of three,” says Florence June, public relations manager for the Red Cross Hauts-de-Seine, highlighting the increasing interest from schools.
“Many professions (early childhood, drivers, etc.) now also require training for their employees,” she adds.
“Obviously more and more people are training, but France starts very far away,” she continues.
In 2020, in order to promote first aid activities and raise public awareness, the status of “rescuer citizen” was created by law, which legally protects people who rescue a victim of cardiac arrest.
Approximately 40,000 people die of cardiac arrest in France every year.
“If nothing is done in the next minutes, the chances of survival are almost zero,” recalls the French Federation of Cardiology. And victims are eight times more likely to survive if the bystander can perform CPR quickly.
“The survival rate after cardiac arrest in France is less than 10%, while in other Nordic countries it is higher (20-30%),” the National Academy of Medicine emphasized in 2018, recommending that “the entire population of France” be trained in life-saving gestures. .
According to the president of the Red Cross, “behind the political discourse there should be a stronger commitment of the state and local communities.”
In his opinion, the participation of “ambassadors” can also play a role in raising awareness on this issue.
On Saturday, actress and model Adriana Karembé, ambassador of the French Red Cross, will be in Avignon to encourage the public to learn.