More than 20,000 children across Yorkshire have been taught skills that could prove the difference between life and death.
Pupils at 88 secondary schools across the county took part in Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s (YAS) Restart a Heart Day initiative yesterday.
Among the Leeds schools to take part were the David Young Community Academy, in Seacroft, and Prince Henry’s Grammar School, in Otley, which was visited by Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland during the 30 minute CPR tutorials.
At Prince Henry’s around 220 year nine pupils were given lessons. Around 30,000 people suffer cardiac arrests outside of hospitals in the UK every year.
Dr Julian Mark, executive medical director at YAS, led the Otley sessions with support from St John Ambulance and community first responders.
“The reason for this is that evidence is there to show school pupils are the best people at spreading the word, they are likely to show and tell their new skills to three other people,” he said. “You get a big cascade effect. Year on year we are going to teach more and more pupils.”
Organisers hope that the initiative will directly or indirectly teach one million people lifesaving skills over the next five years.
Yorkshire’s event, which took place on the European Resuscitation Council’s Restart a Heart Day, was sponsored by the YAS Charitable Fund.
It once again linked in with the Resuscitation Council and British Heart Foundation, which provides the demonstration equipment as part of its Nation of Lifesavers campaign.
Prince Henry’s pupil Hannah Collins, 13, said: “Anyone could have a cardiac arrest, so it’s always important to be there to help people if they need saving. Every school should do this because anyone could be affected – the more people the better.”
This year’s Restart a Heart Day was the biggest event of its kind in the world and brought together teams from YAS, St John Ambulance, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, Hull Royal Infirmary, York District Hospital, Barnsley Hospital, Doncaster Royal Infirmary, the Sheffield-based Embrace paediatric transport service and North West Ambulance Service.
For information on Restart a Heart Day visit www.restartaheart.yas.nhs.uk.