Staff at South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) are calling on members of the public to put time aside and join them in two live online resuscitation training events next week to mark World Restart a Heart Day.
The Community Engagement and Training team will launch activities from Monday (11 October), expanding the awareness day – which takes place on Saturday, 16 October – to a full week, boosting the opportunity for people to learn lifesaving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills.
Jack Ansell, Operations Manager at SCAS, will open the week’s events with an introductory session on Monday at www.facebook.com/scas999 at 10am.
He will highlight how around 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) occur in the UK every year and emergency services attempt resuscitation in around 30,000 – but just one in 10 people survive to hospital discharge.
When a cardiac arrest occurs the heart 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 immediate assistance to people prior to the arrival of emergency services and restart blood flow.
Chances of survival are two to three times higher with immediate bystander CPR – and a report published earlier this 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.
The rest of the week will see people directed to a range of videos via SCAS social media channels, including an interview with Nicky Lack, a Community First Responder for SCAS who saved her husband’s life at home one morning by utilising her CPR training.
The awareness drive will culminate on Friday (15 October) in a live CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training session led by Community Engagement and Training Operations Manager David Hamer from 10am.
This will be followed by another live session at 11am led by Mr Ansell in partnership with the University of Portsmouth and St John Ambulance.
Although Restart a Heart training events have traditionally been aimed at schools and have seen staff visit thousands of students across the region during the week preceding the day, this year will see the event remain online for the second year running as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We would normally be out and about visiting schools and teaching children and young people the benefits of CPR and AEDs, however, due to the pandemic and our restrictions on holding public events that isn’t possible, so we will be going online again,” said Mr Hamer.
“What that means, though, is that we can extend our reach even further by offering an open invitation to members of the public everywhere, not just in the SCAS region, to come online and join us for the live session on Friday.
“We want people of all ages to get involved, not just children and young people, so why not make it a workplace event for all the team – particularly people who are working remotely and can log in – just grab a teddy and get hands on!”
He added: “A person’s chances of survival drop by 10% for every minute that they are not receiving CPR, so speed of response is vital and anyone who tunes in on Friday will learn everything they need to know to save the life of a friend, family member or stranger who may need their help one day.”
Professor Charles Deakin, Divisional Medical Director at SCAS and lead for resuscitation, said: “Learning how to perform CPR before you need to use it and how to use a defibrillator – and where they are located in your area – will give someone the best chance of survival from cardiac arrest.
“I would urge everyone to participate in our Facebook Live event on Friday if they can because doing so will equip them with the information and skills they need to save lives.” Hear more from Professor Deakin on our YouTube channel.
The SCAS Facebook Live sessions will take place on Monday and Friday from 10am at www.facebook.com/scas999.
Nationally, Restart a Heart Day is led by the Resuscitation Council UK. For access to more information and a range of resources, visit Restart A Heart Day | Resuscitation Council UK.
Date of issue: 08 October 2021