Virtual ‘restart a heart’ training – why not sign up?

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is giving people the opportunity to learn how to save lives safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Photos are from previous events.


The Trust, in association with the Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK) and other partner agencies, will host online cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillator training sessions for Restart a Heart Day (RSAH) 2020 on Friday 16 October.

According to RCUK, coronavirus has reduced people’s willingness to perform CPR, and social distancing has limited opportunities for people to learn how to do it.


RSAH 2020 aims to help overcome these fears by teaching safe, effective CPR to give people the confidence and skills to save lives from sudden cardiac arrest.


Sharifa Hashem, SWASFT Patient Engagement Manager, said: “We know that CPR saves lives, and the more people learn CPR, the more lives we can save together.


“Instead of doing face-to-face events this year, we’ll be running a series of Facebook live events to teach people how and when to carry-out CPR safely, how to use defibrillators, and to answer any questions they may have.

“Fewer than one in 10 people survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest. But we know that calling 999, performing hands-only CPR, and using a defibrillator can make a significant difference to someone’s chance of survival.


“During COVID-19 many people have continued to perform CPR, which demonstrates the community spirit in the South West.


“We want to encourage as many people to join us at these sessions – whether they are at school, work or home. The more of us who know what to do, the more lives we can potentially save.”

Cathy Angell, 38, from near Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire has shared her story after she survived a cardiac arrest.


Cathy stopped breathing while her son was having a riding lesson in April 2018. People around her called 999 and began CPR and responders used a defibrillator to keep her alive. She needed emergency heart surgery in hospital, and now lives with an internal defibrillator to regulate her heart rate.


She credited the bystanders’ actions for giving her a “second shot at life”.


Cathy said: “Without the CPR I wouldn’t still be here. I would urge anyone to learn how to do effective CPR, because it really does save lives.”


Carl Botham, 54, has also urged people to learn CPR, after his heart stopped at a Swindon hotel in April 2019.


Staff called 999 and began resuscitation, before paramedics arrived to continue CPR and shock him with a defibrillator. He was put on a life support machine in hospital, and went on to make an incredible recovery.


Carl said: “I’m so pleased the people there were able to do CPR so quickly and so very well.


“Four months after my sudden cardiac arrest, I had the most amazing day giving my daughter away at her wedding. It was the proudest day of my life, and a day I wouldn’t have had without the CPR. Now I am a very proud and lucky grandad to a little girl called Grace.

“I would ask everyone to learn this life skill, because you never know if and when you might need to help save someone’s life. I will always be thankful to Chris and Andy who saved mine!”


To sign-up to attend SWASFT’S RSAH Day on Facebook Live, click here:

The training sessions, lasting 30 minutes each, will take place at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm and 7pm.

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