Restart a Heart Day

North West Ambulance Service has launched an appeal to secondary schools in the region to sign up for a free lesson in life-saving, and we are proud to say that we have answered the call!

Partnering with the Resuscitation Council UK, British Heart Foundation and St John Ambulance, all UK ambulance services will provide the country’s biggest ever CPR training event on Restart a Heart Day on 16 October 2017. Over 240 Gateacre students in Year 10 and 12 will be taking part in this lifesaving training on Friday 13th and Monday 16th of October.

Building on the success of Restart a Heart Day 2016, which saw more than 16,500 students in the North West, and 150,000 nationally, 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, including the fire and rescue services in the region, 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.

It is different from a heart attack where there is an interruption to the blood supply of the heart and the person is conscious and breathing. Someone who is having a cardiac arrest will suddenly lose consciousness and will stop breathing normally.

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 (8.6%) going on to make a recovery in the UK.

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.

Today, people who have a cardiac arrest in Denmark are three times more likely to survive than a decade ago, thanks to mandatory CPR training and more defibrillators being available in public places.

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.