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    'Restart a Heart' Day

    Prep pupils and parents learn emergency life support skills.

    Prep pupils have today been taught emergency life support skills as part of the national ‘Restart a Heart’ campaign, run in association with the British Heart Foundation and the Resuscitation Council UK.

    The youngsters were shown how to safely approach and assess a casualty, make a 999 call, place someone in the recovery position and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

    The 50-minute sessions were led by Mrs Angela Croucher, a Heartstart Instructor and Community First Responder for the East of England Ambulance Service. She also discussed with pupils the possible dangers that there might be in an emergency and how to keep themselves safe, as well as how to check whether the patient is responding and the difference between conscious and unconscious.

    There was also practical advice on calling 999, including the sort of information that the ambulance service would need to know. Additionally, pupils were shown how to open a person's airway, check their breathing and put them into the recovery position, and how to perform chest compressions. Further sessions will be held tomorrow, giving nearly 250 pupils the confidence to administer basic first aid in a life-threatening situation.

    Mrs Croucher said: “Children are often present at accidents and emergencies, and if properly trained are just as capable of applying emergency life support skills (ELS) as adults. Those from 10 years of age can learn the complete range of ELS skills and many can be learnt by much younger children.” 

    By popular demand this year we also offered  the opportunity for parents to learn these vital skills in an after-school session, again run by Mrs Croucher. Topics  covered included how to deal with an unconscious person, how to perform CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) - a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm.

    Today, if you suffer a cardiac arrest out of hospital in the UK, you have less than a one in ten chance of surviving. Yet in Norway, where CPR is more widely taught, the survival rate is four times that amount. There are several key factors to this success such as increasing the number of public access defibrillators, but we know that a major difference is widespread training in CPR.

    The ‘Restart a Heart’ initiative, organised by the Resuscitation Council, the British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross, along with all regional Ambulance Services, aims to train a record 150,000 youngsters across the country in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills in one day - making every child a potential lifesaver.