A Chinese legislator has called for the step-up of first aid training in China given the devastating earthquake and tsunami that may claim thousands of lives in Japan and the recent earthquake in southwest China's Yunnan Province.
First aid training should be incorporated into the country's 12th Five-Year Plan to raise the emergency response capacity of both the central and local governments, said Xin Baoshan, a deputy to the National People's Congress.
By the end of last year 50 million people in China had received first aid trainings, who accounted for less than four percent of the population. The figure was dwarfed by those of France and Germany, which took up 40 percent and 80 percent of their populations respectively, said Xin, head of the Chinese Red Cross National Training Center.
Each year 1.2 million emergency cases took place in China, resulting in at least 200,000 deaths and 1.7 million injuries. Accordingly direct economic losses could stand as high as 300 billion yuan (US$45.6 billion), Xin on the sidelines of the parliamentary session.
"The draft 12th Five-Year Plan does not include first aid training, which I believe should be part of the plan," he said.
"Governments should take the lead in organizing such trainings and the red cross societies at all levels can provide the training. These trainings can be first conducted in naturally vulnerable regions and industries," said Xin.
In addition, legislation in this regard is necessary. First, employees with high-risk industries, such as mining, construction and tourism, should be required to take first aid trainings and obtain certificates. Second, rescuers should be free of blames once their first aid does not work, so as to encourage people to offer more first aid rescue, Xin said.
The ten minutes right after an accident is the prime time to rescue the injured, but ambulance staff may be unable to reach them, according to medical experts.