AS the countdown to Christmas continues, St John Ambulance is urging people across Wirral to learn vital first aid skills that could save a life and treat minor injuries at home.

Learning basic first aid can help prevent an unnecessary trip to hospital and ensure that families and communities spend time together, rather than in hospital waiting rooms, but it can also be the difference between life and death in an emergency.

An app gives easily accessible first aid advice that could help save lives.

Dr Lynn Thomas, medical director at St John Ambulance, said: "Knowing how to treat a burn from cooking or a sprained ankle is vital as it means minor injuries can be dealt with at home but acting fast with first aid can also save lives.

"Having the confidence to take swift action, for example if a loved one is choking or has a cardiac arrest, can help avoid a tragedy at what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.

"Always dial 999 in an emergency but equipping yourself with some first aid skills can also help you identify when to seek medical attention.

"No one wants to end up in hospital, especially at Christmas, and so we’re urging everyone to be prepared, stock up on essentials like plasters and indigestion remedies, and know some first aid."

Some key tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe during the festive season include:

The recovery position

If someone’s had a little too much to drink and is unresponsive (but still breathing), putting them in the recovery position will help to maintain their airway. Make sure to reassure them, keep them warm and check for any other injuries and do not make them be sick as this may cause a blockage.

Another scenario is one where presents have been unwrapped and are scattered everywhere and could lead in a sprained ankle if you or a family member takes a tumble.

If someone is injured because of the, St John's Ambulance ask you to remember ‘RICE’:

  • R – Rest injured part 
  • I – Apply frozen peas or an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel
  • C – Provide Comfortable support. Check the circulation every 10 minutes 
  • E – Elevate the injured part. Advise them to rest 

In the case of an emergency always call 999 for help.

The app is available free on smartphones or visit the website. It offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice.