There is an ongoing debate as to whether first aid training should be incorporated into the curriculum and at this time, it is not. Many schools choose to add this into their teaching, but with budgets tight and curriculums full, it is often sadly missed. We know that in England the ambulance services attempt resuscitation in approximately 28,000 people, of whom less than 10% survive. A total of 270 children die every year of sudden cardiac arrest at school, and four of every five cardiac arrests that happen out of hospitals occur in the home, yet often nobody starts CPR because they don’t know what to do.
By the time the emergency services arrive valuable time has been lost and, in many cases, the chance of survival has been lost also. Where better to start with this teaching than with our children in schools.
Does this approach work? In 2005, CPR training became compulsory for all Danish schoolchildren over 11 years of age. In the next 6 years, the provision of CPR by members of the public more than doubled and survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest tripled. In Stockholm, when members of the public started CPR and used a defibrillator before the arrival of an ambulance 70% of people survived but, when resuscitation was delayed until an ambulance arrived, only 31% survived.
Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation has reported that, “Lives are needlessly lost to cardiac arrests every day because not enough people have the skills or confidence to perform CPR. But the simple measure of teaching all children these skills could save thousands of lives. All parties should now follow this example and commit to making CPR an integral part of every child’s education.”
The notion to add First Aid Training to the curriculum has full support from the UK Resuscitation Council, The British Heart Foundation and St John’s Ambulance, but has yet to become a reality. Here at ECG we like to do our bit, which is why our Saving Lives in MK campaign is giving away 2 FREE CPR sessions each month to schools, community organisations or businesses. Check our website www.ecgtraining.co.uk for details and let’s get more children trained in saving lives.
We will also be taking part in the ‘Restart a heart’ initiative led by The Resuscitation Council UK and train school children in October as will others around the UK
Written by Sophie McCracken 11th May 2017