Creating a generation of life-savers: Restart a Heart Day 2019

17th October 2019

HUNDREDS of schoolchildren across Wales have been learning life-saving CPR as part of the annual Restart a Heart Day campaign.
Yesterday, dozens of Welsh Ambulance Service staff and volunteers visited more than 30 secondary schools across the country to demonstrate how to save a life by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

The Trust’s volunteers were also out and about in the community teaching the public about chest compressions and defibrillators, including at Cardiff University and the Wales Millennium Centre.

The Restart a Heart Day initiative, led by the Resuscitation Council UK in partnership with St John Ambulance, The British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, and Yorkshire Ambulance Service, with the support from every UK ambulance service, aims to improve survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. 

Adam Fletcher, Head of BHF Cymru, said: “CPR needs to be learnt universally to significantly improve survival rates and Restart a Heart Day is all about helping to train and support people to learn the life-saving skills that are vital in instances of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. 

“Just an hour of learning life-saving skills could make a real difference and hundreds more lives could be saved across Wales each year.”

To mark the sixth year of Restart a Heart Day, the Resuscitation Council UK and St John Ambulance have undertaken research into the bias and barriers to people performing CPR in an emergency. 

The research found that in Wales, ‘stranger danger’ and ‘busyness bias’ were also cited as possible reasons for not helping someone who might have collapsed or stopped breathing in front of them. 

Just 66% of people in Wales would give CPR to a stranger – compared to 86% who would help a family member, and only 70% of respondents in Wales are likely to give CPR in a crowded location, compared to 83% if they were the only ones around.

Currently in the UK, less than one in ten (8.6%) of people survive a cardiac arrest, which is why it is so important that young generations are trained to deliver CPR confidently, to improve survival rates in the future.

Dr Brendan Lloyd, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Medical Director, said: “If a bystander immediately starts CPR before the arrival of the ambulance service, that person’s chance of survival significantly increases. Most people don’t realise that.

“That’s why it is crucial for members of the public to learn CPR. 

“Getting as many secondary schools as possible involved in Restart a Heart Day 2019 has enabled our staff and volunteers to pass on their skills to pupils. 

“You never know when you will need to perform CPR; it’s a skill for life.”