South Central Ambulance Charity has partnered with Tanium, a US technology company with a UK headquarters in Reading, to teach staff cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and help them complete a 24-hour ‘CPR-a-thon’ challenge tomorrow (Thursday, 22 September).
This was the idea of Tony Larks, senior director for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) marketing at Tanium and a volunteer community first responder for South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS). The initiative is designed to not only improve life-saving skills and raise funds, but also to remember the life of a colleague.
Angela Davies, 41, suffered an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest last year and sadly could not be revived despite the best efforts of paramedics, leaving Tanium staff determined to commit to doing all they can to learn CPR, raise awareness and pay their respects to Angela.
The event will see staff work in teams of eight to maintain 100 compressions a minute on CPR training manikins for 24 hours – around 144,000 in total over the period – with the aim of raising at least £6,000 for South Central Ambulance Charity.
In the UK, emergency services attempt resuscitation in around 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in every year, but just one in ten people survive to reach hospital discharge.
A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body, which is why CPR and defibrillators – devices which deliver an electric current to shock the heart muscle – enable anyone to provide help in restarting blood flow prior to the arrival of emergency services.
Chances of survival are two to three times higher with immediate bystander CPR – and a report published last year by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) found 35.5% of patients who received CPR from a bystander survived to hospital discharge.
Earlier this year, South Central Ambulance Charity launched a new initiative in collaboration with community first responders like Mr Larks and the community engagement and training team at SCAS to provide Basic Life Support Awareness Training (BLSAT) to businesses.
The development of this programme led to Tanium holding four training sessions for staff to equip them with the skills and confidence to attempt to save a life – and prompted the decision to launch the CPR-a-thon fundraising challenge.
The event will begin at 10am tomorrow (Thursday, 22 September) consisting of staff teams who have raised a minimum of £200 towards the £6,000 total which will go towards the community first responder (CFR) programme at SCAS.
CFRs are members of the public trained to support the ambulance service primarily by responding to medical emergencies and sometimes providing lifesaving first aid to patients before paramedics arrive.
They also assist with ongoing patient care at the scene and attend more than 30,000 incidents every year. CFRs are funded solely by South Central Ambulance Charity, which provides equipment, training and is responsible for the vehicle fleet of 51 Dacia Dusters.
“Every year our company runs a month of giving as part of our #TaniumGivesBack initiative where we support community projects or raise funds for good causes and this year, given the sad passing of our dearly loved colleague Angela, it felt appropriate to do something in her memory with the agreement of her family,” explained Mr Larks.
“That led us to the idea of offering staff an opportunity to learn lifesaving skills and then use these skills for a physical challenge and charity fundraiser in aid of South Central Ambulance Charity and its community first responder programme which I am part of.”
He added: “I want to thank Angela’s family for allowing us to hold this event in her memory and to Tanium for supporting it. While there is a team-building part to the challenge, there is no doubt the skills people will take away will prove invaluable to them and they will go on to inform and educate others as a result.”
Vanessa Casey, chief executive of South Central Ambulance Charity, said: “We can’t thank Angela’s family, Tony and Tanium enough for their efforts to support our CPR and defibrillator awareness and training programme as well as help raise funds for our community first responders.”
Tanium’s CPR-a-thon marks the start of a build up towards Restart a Heart Day on Sunday, 16 October, which will see SCAS host a series of events and training sessions. It will also feature a number of case studies and films on CPR and defibrillator awareness.
Paramedic Nicola Dunbar, head of community engagement and training at SCAS and Restart a Heart Day lead, said: “Tanium’s CPR-a-thon is a great way to mark the start of our Restart a Heart Day activities and we want to thank Angela’s family, Tony and his colleagues for their support. We hope this helps to drum up further interest in the events we will be holding as we build up to the day itself.”
To donate to the cause visit: Tanium UK is fundraising for South Central Ambulance Charity (justgiving.com)