Appeal to secondary schools to sign up for free life-saving lessons
THE North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) has launched an appeal to secondary schools in the region to sign up for a free lesson in life-saving.
The Resuscitation Council UK, the British Heart Foundation and St John Ambulance have enlisted the support of all UK ambulance services to provide the country’s biggest-ever CPR training event on Restart a Heart Day on October 16.
Building on the success of Restart a Heart Day 2016, which saw more than 16,500 students in the North West, trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills, the event will be repeated this year with a national training target of 200,000 students.
Restart a Heart Day will see NWAS and local partners providing practical lessons that cover how to recognise cardiac arrest, and how to help by doing effective CPR and using a defibrillator.
Cardiac arrest is the most extreme emergency and happens when the heart stops beating in a normal way, preventing blood from pumping around the body. 80% of out of hospital cases happen in the home.
A person in cardiac arrest will die within minutes unless they are treated immediately with CPR and defibrillation. The CPR keeps oxygen circulating around the body to prevent damage to the brain and other organs, while a defibrillator gives an electric shock to the heart in an attempt to restore its normal rhythm.
Survival rates for people who have cardiac arrests are dismal with less than one in ten people in the UK (8.6%) going on to make a recovery.
Despite the best efforts of ambulance services and national bodies to lobby the UK government to make CPR training in schools mandatory, it is still not part of the national curriculum. But if CPR skills were taught in schools, survival rates could significantly increase as they have in Scandinavia.
Anyone can attempt CPR, but the lack of training means that people rarely have the confidence to do so. Only 30% of people who witness a cardiac arrest at home or in a public place will attempt CPR.
David McNally, complementary resources manager at NWAS, said: “We are encouraging all secondary schools to sign up to our lesson in lifesaving on Restart a Heart Day because cardiac arrest kills people and the power to change this lies within our communities.
“Knowing what to do in an extreme emergency situation cannot be underestimated. CPR skills are so simple to learn and they absolutely do save lives. We are targeting secondary schools because children pick up new skills with ease and can take them into adult life.”
Schools that want to help to create the next generation of lifesavers can register their interest in Restart a Heart Day at www.nwas.nhs.uk/schools before Thursday, April 13.