Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
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TODAY (Friday, October 16) thousands of young people across Greater Manchester will learn to become lifesavers thanks to Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS).
Firefighters, Service staff and volunteers are visiting schools and colleges across the county to teach lifesaving CPR to students as part of a partnership with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).
It is part of the BHF’s Nation of Lifesavers campaign, which aims to improve survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrests.
The event also marks Restart a Heart Day, which takes place today and will see young people across Europe learning CPR.
GMFRS’ County Fire Officer, Peter O’Reilly, said: “We’re really pleased to be joining the fight for every heartbeat and providing young people across Greater Manchester with basic lifesaving skills.
“Hundreds of firefighters and support staff will be visiting schools and colleges on October 16 to teach as many young people as possible how to perform CPR using special kits provided by the British Heart Foundation.
“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.”
The initiative builds on the recent launch of a partnership between GMFRS and NWAS, which sees firefighters responding to cardiac arrests.
Last year, NWAS responded to 5,486 incidents in Greater Manchester where the patient had suffered a cardiac arrest. This highlights the need to increase skills and confidence across the region, to give every person the best chance of survival.
A survey of adults in the North West by the BHF revealed that just 44% know CPR.
Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Survival rates for cardiac arrest are critically low in the North West and far too many lives are lost needlessly because not enough people have the skills and confidence to carry out lifesaving CPR.
“Sadly, you are most likely to witness a cardiac arrest at home, which is why it’s so important that more people are trained and are able to act in that situation. Performing CPR in those vital immediate minutes after a cardiac arrest can, in some cases, double a person’s chance of survival.
“This unique partnership between three lifesaving organisations will give everyone across Manchester easy access to learn how to help save a life and create a Nation of Lifesavers.”
Following today’s events, the CPR kits provided to GMFRS by the BHF will also be used on fire stations to train other community groups.
NWAS Community Engagement Manager, Andrew Redgrave said: “Earlier this year we launched our Cardiac Smart campaign to have the installation of AEDs in public places a legal requirement, in the same way that fire extinguishers are.
“Those who suffer a cardiac arrest will receive treatment when the ambulance crew arrives but if a member of the public can start that process while help is on the way, it can make a huge difference to their chances of survival.”
To help BHF create a Nation of Lifesavers please visit www.bhf.org.uk/lifesavers
Notes to Editor