A medical emergency can happen any time, any place and what people do in the minutes before help arrives can be the difference between life and death. According to a recent national poll* from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and Morning Consult, the majority of adults are unprepared to step in to help in a major medical emergency.
According to the poll, while adults feel prepared to effectively communicate with 911 operators, they are less confident in their ability to take action in a medical emergency when it comes to more hands-on medical care.
Three-fourths of adults feel prepared to effectively communicate with 911 operators (76%) if they are the first person on the scene, although only one-in-three (29%) say they feel prepared to administer an automated external defibrillator (AED). Eighty-five percent of adults trained in administering an AED (85%) feel prepared to do so If they are the first person on the scene of a medical emergency.
Over half of adults feel prepared to provide compression-only CPR (55%) and nearly half believe they are prepared to move an endangered victim to safety (47%), apply a tourniquet (47%), and/or control severe bleeding (46%) if they are the first person on the scene.
If a medical emergency were to occur, most adults say they are willing to take action while waiting for emergency service professionals to arrive. Nine-in-ten adults trained in any form of emergency response skill (91%) are willing to take action in an emergency medical crisis while only two-thirds of adults not trained in any form of emergency response skill (68%) are willing to take action. According to the poll, four-in-five adults (81%) say they would be very willing or somewhat willing to intervene in a medical emergency is they took a training course.
Emergency physicians are taking steps to educate and empower people in communities nationwide to confidently be the help until help arrives. ACEP is partnering with the American Red Cross to launch Until Help Arrives, a one-hour training course for anyone to learn essential lifesaving skills, like controlling severe bleeding and performing hands-only CPR.
*Morning Consult conducted this poll on behalf of ACEP on December 22-December 25, 2022 among a national sample of 2,199 adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and region. The results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.