Advisers call for more training in first aid to save lives

Proposal calls for installation of more defibrillators in public spaces and teaching more people how to use them in an emergency.

Local political advisers say more defibrillators should be installed in public spaces.

Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) have been widely recognized for their key role in saving the lives of people suffering cardiac arrest.

Training in how to use the devices should also be stepped up, it was proposed.

More than 600 such devices have been installed around the city since September 2015, but few people know how to use them, according to the proposal from the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party.

Chen Fangyuan, a specialist at Renji Hospital's hematology department, pointed out a couple of problems. There were no hard-and-fast rules on installation and few managers of public spaces were willing to install them and train their staff in how to use them.

Ordinary residents also lacked first-aid training and even some of those who had received training were not confident of being able to handle emergencies.

The Shanghai Red Cross Society has trained about 30,000 local people in emergency rescue skills in recent years, but that was far from enough compared to the city's 20 million permanent residents.

Chen said first aid training covered 25 percent of the population in America, 40 percent in France and 80 percent in Germany.

Chen and her fellow party members proposed the government work out a special policy to ensure that major public places in the city must have AEDs installed.

It was also suggested the government promote the installation with special funding, training and qualification systems. A team of volunteers should be trained in five years.

Chen said the growth in the number of installed devices should not be the goal and that it was better to have them in places with large flows of people.

Public awareness of first aid should be enhanced via increased training and promotion. Besides current training activities, it was suggested the Red Cross Society organize drills and make use of new technology to improve citizens’ knowledge and abilities in first aid.

The proposal also said efforts were needed to make the “Good Samaritan” regulation that came into effect in 2016 more widely known to encourage more people to carry out first aid when needed. The regulation includes protection for those who help strangers so they need not fear legal repercussions.

The proposal also said police officers, teachers, government officials and employees of state-owned enterprises should receive first-aid training while staff at densely-populated places, such as airports and railway stations, must receive training once every two years. Drivers should also have to finish training before gaining their driving licenses.

Local schools were also asked to teach first-aid skills.

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