Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
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AROUND 3,500 young people were trained to be lifesavers today by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS).
As part of European Restart a Heart Day, firefighters, staff and volunteers attended dozens of schools and colleges to teach CPR as part of a partnership with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).
It’s the first time the Service has been involved in the campaign and it proved really successful.
The aim is to help create a nation of lifesavers and improve survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrests – there are around 30,000 every year in the UK and less than one in ten survive.
Throughout Friday, October 16, fire crews, volunteers and support staff, visited around 35 schools delivering training with the help of CPR kits and mannequins provided by the BHF.
Youngsters learned how to perform chest compressions and give rescue breaths to help keep the heart’s blood pumping.
At the same time, schools and colleges across the whole of the UK and Europe were taking part in their own training sessions as part of Restart a Heart Day – a European campaign to teach people lifesaving skills so they can help someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest.
Fiza, aged 13, is a pupil at William Hulme Grammar School in Whalley Range, Manchester.
She said: “This is the first time I’ve done anything like this and I found it really interesting and I’m sure it will be very useful. I want to be a doctor, so I think this learning was a good start for me. I can also now tell my friends and family how to do breaths of life and compressions.
“It was good to have the fire service here as they have experience of doing CPR in emergencies. I wasn’t surprised the fire service were teaching us because I think them and ambulance people and others are all working for the same cause of saving lives and helping everyone.”
Nicole, aged 13, from Byrchall High School in Wigan, said: “It was hard at first but once you get used to it and practise a bit it’s quite easy. I hadn’t ever thought about this before but now I think I’d be able to give it a go. It’s been really good.”
Year 10 pupil Jordan, from Oasis Academy in Oldham, said: “I think the CPR training Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is doing at schools is a great idea and really useful. It might even mean that we can save our mates’ lives and I feel confident that I could help someone if I came across them collapsed on the floor.”
Group Manager John Fletcher, who helped kick-start the day by supporting the training of around 150 students at Byrchall High School, said: “People are often scared of doing CPR because they’re worried about causing more damage but in this situation you can’t do anything to make things worse – the worst thing you can do is nothing.
“Now that the all our fire stations have CPR kits and mannequins we can extend the training to other members of the community and create even more lifesavers.”
GMFRS’ County Fire Officer, Peter O’Reilly, said: “Thanks to everyone who has taken part to help make this day such a huge success. Heart disease can affect people of any age and at any time so as an emergency service at the heart of the communities we serve we see it as our responsibility to help make everyone aware of heart health and how they can help in a medical emergency.
“Our firefighters are trained and experienced in CPR and the use of lifesaving equipment such as defibrillators so we want to pass on our skills to as many people as possible to ensure they have the best possible chance at helping to save a life.”
To help BHF create a Nation of Lifesavers please visit www.bhf.org.uk/lifesavers
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