Only 7% form each year to emergency actions. A proportion should be multiplied by three to get satisfactory results in terms of public health. Dr Pascal Cassan, Associate Deputy national training in first aid to the French Red Cross, explains the reasons for this delay.
Doctissimo: How are organized training sessions for the general public to the French Red Cross?
Dr Pascal Cassan:The French Red Cross has of a potential important, consisting of 3,000 volunteer instructors, spread throughout the country and working in 800 local committees.
About 300 instructors are responsible for teaching to the monitors, who receive 50 hours of additional instruction free of charge. National team training, which I run and which consists of about 30 doctors, is responsible for ensuring the consistency of the scientific content of the training and participates among others in discussions with scientific bodies and the Ministry of the Interior.
Contrary to what one might imagine, it is indeed this Department which is responsible for first aid in France and not that of health. In 2000, 100,000 certificates of training in first aid (AFPS) and 80,000 initiations in first aid were issued in France by the Red Cross, which represents more than 3 million hours of volunteer work.
Doctissimo: The Red Cross recently launched a major information campaign to encourage the French and especially the young people to learn “gestures which save”. What has been its impact?
Dr Pascal Cassan:This campaign has been an undeniable success and as a result of the fall 2000 television spots, many people have contacted us. Adriana Karembeu, Ambassador of the campaign is not foreign to this, because it is not only a top-model beautiful. She is really involved in this operation. For example, she did not hesitate not only to follow the course of the AFD, but to become a monitor to the Red Cross. The book, which we have published on “gestures which save” is a big success, sold 70,000 copies. This proves that one must continue to educate the public on the subject.
However, only 300 to 350 000 French are formed each year to emergency actions. This is too little and should be at least multiply this by 3 to get satisfactory results in terms of public health.
In fact, we are getting closer Latin countries such as the Italy or Spain, where the number of trained people is low. Conversely, in English, German or Scandinavian countries, it is often relatively important. This for example is the case in Denmark where 30% of the population is initiated at the actions of emergency.
Doctissimo: How do you explain this disparity between southern and Northern European countries?
Dr Pascal Cassan:First of all by a difference in mentality and awareness of the citizen action, which is not well developed in France. We are not accustomed to the idea of learning something to save others.
But the problem is also the State which made little effort to change things. For example, in the Denmark and Germany, 8 hours of initiation to the behaviour of first aid are systematically offered to candidates for driving licences. In Germany, taxi or bus drivers also receive 16 hours of training to the emergency actions. The Denmark and our neighbours across the Rhine, the children are educated to this problem from the age of 5. At this age, we just teach them how to do an emergency telephone number and give their address, and then little agenda of the AFD is taught. At the age of 7, they learn to set aside an unconscious class companion; 8 years to stop hemorrhaging. to 10 years to perform a cardiac massage.
It is a pity that nothing takes place in France, because teachers are quite capable of providing this type of information to the students.