Dragons’ Den’s Duncan Bannatyne OBE is backing St John Ambulance’s campaign to encourage workplaces to train more of their employees to save a life, after experiencing his own first aid emergency.

Entrepreneur Duncan, better known for his health club business and for lending his support to aspiring start-ups, experienced severe chest pains while working at his head office last September, and credits his speedy recovery to the quick thinking and first aid knowledge of the secretary who found him.

Realising the importance of first aid, the Bannatyne Group has gone above its legal obligation and arranged training for extra staff across the organisation. He is now appealing to employers to train as many of their staff as possible in essential first aid, giving them the skills they need to need to save a life in and out of their workplace.

Duncan said: ‘When I experienced chest pains in my office, I thought I was having a heart attack. I had collapsed on the floor and was finding it difficult to breathe, when luckily my secretary found me. Even though she doesn’t have any formal first aid training, she knew what to do in that situation. I want to make sure that I’m not the only lucky one and that there are more people out there who can be the difference between life and death if needed.’

Richard Evens, Commercial Training Director at the nation’s leading first aid provider said: ‘Even basic training gives employees the skills they need to handle minor injuries as well as serious emergencies.

‘By equipping employees with these skills, organisations are not just making their workplaces safer for their staff. When surveyed, over 60% of first aiders trained at work told us that they had used their skills outside of the workplace. So, by giving employees the skills to save a life, businesses are also making their communities a safer place to live.’