Emergency first aid advice via mobile phones

Austria - Only 28% of the public would give first aid `no matter what´; 32% would be `very likely´ do so, according to a study by the market research institute Market.

However, the Austrian Red Cross warns that those figures may be overly optimistic: their observations at accident sites indicate that significantly fewer people are prepared to administer first aid. ‘The most important measures that every student driver should learn are recovery position and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR),’ advises Wolfgang Schreiber, Medical Director of the Austrian Red Cross.
In another recent study 73% of the participants reported being scared to do the wrong thing in an emergency. 40% had first aid training over a decade ago. Only 3.5% could identify the correct sequence of emergency measures at an accident site. Yet, greater knowledge could save lives. The Austrian Red Cross also points out that failure to render assistance is legally considered a misdemeanour; it’s better to make a mistake than not help at all. No one need fear punishment for a mistake. ‘I don’t know a single case where a first aider was taken to court for making a mistake,’ says Red Cross solicitor Bernhard Schneider.
The Austrian Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) has developed Samariter, a mobile phone application that can be downloaded (the mobile must be Java-enabled, as are most current models). On the phone display, this shows how to put a person in recovery position, how to perform CPR and how to staunch bleeding. ‘The system is intended to help a first aider to use the time sensibly until the emergency medical service arrives,’ explains Franz Schnabl, President of ASB Austria.
To date, about 4,000 people have installed Samariter, which is network-independent, enabling use even in poor transmission zones, e.g. mountains.
ASB points out that the instructions are only to help in an emergency, it is no substitute for full first aid training, which it strongly recommends.
Samariter details: www.dersamariter.at

01.09.2008

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