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Over 500 students trained in lifesaving CPR – Volunteers Week 2019

Thanks to the efforts of local community first responder, Les Owen, over 500 students at Beaconsfield High School have now been trained in how to give lifesaving CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or chest compressions, as well as how to use a defibrillator.

The school took part in the European Restart a Heart Day initiative in October 2017, and since then Les has returned to Beaconsfield High and has now trained 535 students in these lifesaving first aid techniques.

Les, who has been a community first responder for South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) since 2014, said:

“Beaconsfield High School for Girls, under the guidance of the Headteacher, Rachel Smith, has recognised the value of explaining CPR and the ease of use of a defibrillator. The school staff and students have shown great enthusiasm to learn. Local people can feel proud they have so many students at one of their local schools who will recognise and know what to do if a cardiac arrest occurs. Well done everyone and thank you for your support.”

Earlier this year, the Government announced that the UK would finally catch up with some other countries around the world by ensuring that CPR training and other lifesaving skills would be part of compulsory health education in all schools in England by 2020. Beaconsfield High School is already leading the way in this regard.

Rachel Smith, Headteacher, at Beaconsfield High School, said:

“I was so personally touched by one student’s example of saving her father’s life by knowing CPR that her story led us to roll-out this training across the school, helping to potentially save more lives in the future. It perfectly fits within our Getting Life Ready initiative, which was created to develop life skills that are needed to flourish now and after school.

“The CPR training delivered by Les was top-notch, and our students all thoroughly enjoyed the learning challenge, and the opportunity that we were able to give them. The school is so committed to the benefits of this training that we are also considering rolling it out to staff.”

Restart a Heart Day is one of a number of initiatives SCAS supports to encourage more people to learn how to do lifesaving CPR (or chest compressions) should they come across someone collapsed, not breathing and potentially in cardiac arrest. For every minute that passes without CPR starting on a person in cardiac arrest or a defibrillator shock being applied, their chances of survival reduce by 10%.

Nic Morecroft, Head of Operations – Community Engagement & Training at SCAS, said:

“It’s wonderful that Beaconsfield High School staff and students have so enthusiastically got behind our Restart a Heart campaign. Carrying out CPR on someone during those few minutes while our emergency ambulances are on their way could really make the difference between that person living or dying as every second counts. There are now over 500 potential lifesavers in the local Beaconsfield community and that’s due to Les’ dedication and commitment too.”

On 13 September 2018, Les Owen, Nic Morecroft and Andrew McClean, Assistant Headteacher, along with a large group of Year 8 and Year 10 students formed the shape of a heart to celebrate reaching the 500 milestone and formally launch SCAS’ Restart a Heart Day 2018 campaign.