Why Teaching CPR & Defib in Schools is so Important

As part of our campaign to get CPR & Defib info into as many 2024/25 Student Planners and Teacher Planners as possible, we invited Jason Carlyon – Senior Engagement Lead (Community) at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to write a piece about the importance of teaching CPR & defibrillator use in schools. 

“Most people are shocked to hear that you have less than a one in 10 chance of survival if you suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK. This stubbornly low figure is in stark contrast to survival rates in countries like Norway where it is four in 10. This is partly because Norway has a long-established community programme of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training.

We know that a patient stands the best possible chance of survival if a bystander calls 999 and starts CPR as soon as possible. The 999 call-taker will also tell them where they can access their nearest defibrillator which can restore a normal heartbeat. These two interventions give our ambulance crews a fighting chance of success when they arrive on scene.

This is why the international Restart a Heart campaign is so vital. Every October, hundreds of thousands of people across the UK – and many more worldwide – learn CPR as part of the initiative.

The campaign is led in the UK by the Resuscitation Council UK, British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, St John Ambulance and Yorkshire Ambulance Service with every UK ambulance service joining in to ensure as many people as possible receive this life-saving training.

CPR and other first aid skills were added to the national curriculum for schools in England for the first time this year (2020) and we know this will have a positive impact on cardiac arrest survival rates in years to come. By giving these skills to young people, they have them for life. We know of instances where young people have been taught CPR and go on to use the technique years later to save someone’s life. Incredible isn’t it.

We really value our partnership with Penstripe which will enable our messages about the importance of CPR and defibrillators to reach even more students.

Jason Carlyon

Senior Engagement Lead (Community)

Yorkshire Ambulance Service

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