Bystanders who are able to provide immediate first aid to patients who require emergency care can make a big difference in the outcome. Thus, first-aid training should be made available to as many people as possible. The aims of this study were to assess the level of first-aid knowledge among bystanders in emergency situations and to identify factors that affected this level of knowledge. At Dokuz Eylul University Emergency Service between February 1 and February 15, 2002, 318 bystanders were given a questionnaire. The first part of the questionnaire was concerned with demographic characteristics and factors that would affect first-aid knowledge level. The second part consisted of 16 multiple choice questions about first aid. Bystanders answered an average of 7.16+/-3.14 questions correctly. Bystanders who had graduated from a university, were health care personnel, had taken a first-aid course, had a first-aid certificate, or had a driver's license were considered to be more successful.