Record-breaking number of children learn CPR

Record-breaking number of children learn CPR

Published at 3:04pm 10th December 2016.

More than 150,000 youngsters have been given a life-saving lesson in just one day, thanks to a pioneering campaign led by Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

For the first time this year, all UK ambulance trusts came together on Restart a Heart Day to provide free cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training to schoolchildren.

Volunteers visited secondary schools and community groups to pass on their life-saving skills in what was the largest event of its kind ever seen in the UK.

Organisers are describing it as a "phenomenal achievement" and say the success is thanks to a collaboration led by Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS), the Resuscitation Council (UK), British Heart Foundation (BHF), St John Ambulance and British Red Cross.

Mass CPR training events have been organised by YAS on Restart a Heart Day since 2014, and following a presentation about the success of the initiative to the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, every ambulance trust signed up to organise events.

Next year’s Restart a Heart Day will be held on Monday 16 October and schools will be invited to register from February.

Jason Carlyon, Resuscitation Manager at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: "Thanks to our partnership with the BHF and other agencies, we have provided CPR training to 51,000 children at Yorkshire schools on Restart a Heart Day over the last three years.

"We were delighted to share our concept and support the roll-out of the event to all ambulance trusts nationally, ensuring that thousands more youngsters learnt this vital skill on Restart a Heart Day this year."

Over 30,000 people suffer cardiac arrests outside of hospital in the UK every year.

If this happens in front of a bystander who starts CPR immediately before the arrival of the ambulance, the patient's chances of survival double.

The BHF supplies free Call Push Rescue training kits to participating secondary schools and community groups across the UK to help people learn life-saving CPR.

Sara Askew, Head of Survival at the BHF, said: "This year's Restart a Heart Day was the most successful yet, with more than 150,000 young people trained in life-saving CPR skills, thanks to all the amazing volunteers who gave up their time to support the day.

"But there is still much more to be done to help improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates in the UK, with less than one in ten people surviving.

"We are urging all secondary schools across the country to apply for our free Call Push Rescue training kits. We also encourage schools with our CPR kits to run sessions and enable their pupils to learn this life-saving skill and help create a Nation of Lifesavers."

Dr Andy Lockey, Honorary Secretary of Resuscitation Council (UK), added: "We're thrilled with how many new life-savers we created and are looking ahead to 2017 with the aim to beat this year’s fantastic total."

Sue Killen, Chief Executive of St John Ambulance, said: "As a result of the hard work of all partner organisations involved with Restart a Heart Day, thousands of young people all over the country now have the skills to save a life. We are proud to have once again played our part.

"There is overwhelming evidence that more lives could be saved if more people knew CPR. It is vital that we teach our young people simple first aid techniques so that no-one is helpless in an emergency."