16th October 2017
York College students learned a vital lesson on Restart a Heart Day when the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) visited to give them hands-on sessions in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
The College also hosted a visit from Deputy Lieutenant Paul Shepherd, in support of the event, aimed at boosting cardiac survival rates.
Volunteers from the YAS told students how important it is to perform CPR on anyone suffering a cardiac arrest, with survival chances doubling if a bystander starts CPR before the emergency services arrive on the scene.
Practicing the life-saving skill, students were left in no doubt about the significance of their learning. Caitlin Greaves, a Child Studies student, said she enjoyed the session: “The thought of having to do this is a bit scary but I feel much more informed on carrying out CPR now. I think it’s really important to be shown what to do and I could probably step in to help save a life if I had to.”
York College was amongst 137 Yorkshire schools taking part in Restart a Heart Day, which delivered CPR training to more than 25,000 young people. Last year, YAS saved more cardiac arrest patients than ever before - 310 compared to 240 in 2015-16. And, although survival rates have increased in Yorkshire over the last two years (9.3% in 2015-16 and 10.1% in 2016-17), statistics across the UK are still stubbornly low compared to countries like Norway (around 25%), where children learn CPR in schools.
A Level student Joseph Ward had previously seen people doing CPR on the television, he said: “It’s harder than it looks, you have to really push down hard and not be frightened about doing so. I’m pleased to have the chance to practice as I now feel more confident about delivering CPR, if needed.”
Jason Carlyon, Clinical Development Manager for YAS, said: “CPR is undoubtedly the most important step in the chain of survival. If this can be carried out in the critical few minutes before the arrival of an ambulance, it can mean the difference between life and death. In 2016-17, 42% of cardiac arrest incidents in Yorkshire were witnessed by a non-clinician who could potentially have started CPR. It is therefore essential to provide CPR training to thousands of youngsters on Restart a Heart Day, but also to use the event as an opportunity to encourage others to learn this vital skill too.”