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Restart a Heart Day 2020 - what you need to know

Today is Restart A Heart day - an annual training and awareness event relating to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillator use.

In 2019, led by the Resuscitation Council UK, the British Heart Foundation and other organisations – including South Western Ambulance Service Trust – an amazing 291,000 people were trained in CPR across the UK.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance launched its own ‘Emergency Awareness Training’ programme in January 2019, which delivers the importance of recognising a person in cardiac arrest and teaches CPR.

This programme is delivered at schools and colleges across Wiltshire, teaching children and students aged from four to 18 years of age. The programme also includes using an AED, managing a choking/bleeding patient and placing an unconscious patient in the recovery position.

To date we have been into 125 schools and delivered the programme to over 13,000 school children and students.

The aim of Restart A Heart day is for everyone to understand the importance of hands only CPR. Unfortunately around 30,000 people every year suffer a sudden cardiac arrest and without immediate treatment, 90-95% of sudden cardiac arrest casualties will die.

Although we have made tremendous progress in Wiltshire schools, today is about informing people of all ages how to recognise the signs of someone in a cardiac arrest and empowering them with the skills to be able to perform CPR to help save someone’s life.

Some of you may be concerned, however, about the risk of Coronavirus. Watch the video below for a step-by-step guide that could help you save a life while keeping yourself safe at the same time.

 

If you find someone who has collapsed, you need to act fast and safely.

First, check for danger. Next, shout and shake, while you should also dial 999, putting your phone on to speaker.

Now checking for breathing signs. Do not put your face close to theirs, instead place your hand on their stomach feeling for any movement and look for any rise and fall in the chest.

If there is no response or any signs of breathing, place a towel or piece of clothing loosely over their mouth and nose. Do not undertake mouth to mouth – this is simply to provide a safe barrier between you and the patient.

Now start chest compressions to the tempo of “Stayin’ Alive”. To do this kneel down in line with their chest, then place the heel of one hand into the centre of the chest ‘in line with their nipples’ - interlock the other hand. Keeping your arms straight and locked, push down one-third of the chest, allow for the chest to recoil then push again. The tempo will be aiming for 100-120 compressions in a minute.

Continue doing chest compressions until the ambulance service arrives or the patient starts responding.

If a public access defibrillator or AED is available, instruct someone to collect and return quickly. The ambulance call handler will inform you if one is nearby.

If a defibrillator is used and effective CPR is performed within 3-5 minutes of cardiac arrest, the chance of survival increases from 6% to 74%.

By using an AED it will tell what to do and you can do no harm with it, you may save a life before the ambulance even arrives.

I hope this blog has been informative and makes you think about what you would need to in these circumstances. Our friends at South Western Ambulance Service will also be running virtual sessions on Facebook throughout Restart A Heart Day 2020 - click here for more details.

If you’re part of a school or college that would like more information about our Emergency Awareness Training programme, click here.

Simon Stigwood
Emergency Awareness Training Officer

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