Mytaxi offers London cabbies free medical training

Nick Summers
A taxi-hailing app is offering London cabbies free training to deal with health-related emergencies, including acid attacks and terrorist incidents.

A taxi-hailing app is offering London cabbies free training to deal with health-related emergencies, including acid attacks and terrorist incidents. Mytaxi's "Knowledge+" course covers first-aid techniques including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and how to use a defibrillator. Drivers are also given advice for handling crisis situations and basic psychology, such as reading body language and de-escalating aggressive behaviour. It's being marketed as a progression of "The Knowledge," with backing from first aid charity St John Ambulance and Chris Phillips, the former head of the UK's National Counter Terrorism Security Office.

It's hoped the new training will give drivers the knowledge and confidence to act as emergency responders. Devastating acid attacks are on the rise in London and the threat of a terrorist incident is ever present. The medical know-how should also help with sudden health issues such as heart attacks and cardiac arrest. These could occur in passengers or nearby pedestrians. Michelle Kerrigan, national partnerships manager for St John Ambulance said: "Taxi drivers are increasingly first on the scene in an emergency, and we know that administering first aid in those crucial first few minutes can be the difference between life and death."

In addition, Mytaxi will equip 50 black cabs with first aid kits in the coming months. Taxi drivers will, of course, never replace fully qualified medics, but free and robust training can only be seen as a positive for the city. "You can pretty much guarantee that whatever incident happens in London, a black cab will be at the scene or nearby," Phillips said. "Professionalising their response is a brilliant way to help keep Londoners safe."

  • This article originally appeared on Engadget.