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Service to deliver free lifesaving training sessions across the capital this weekend

This Saturday (16 October) London Ambulance Service medics will be delivering free lifesaving training sessions to the public for Restart a Heart Day.An ambulance medic shown performing chest compressions on a mannequin, with a defibrillator next to the mannequin

The annual event, which is in its eighth year, aims to train people in how to perform CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation), so they feel confident to act in an emergency.

The campaign is led by Resuscitation Council UK, in partnership with St John Ambulance, the British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross and all UK ambulance services.

The London training sessions, organised by London Ambulance Service, will include hands-on practice of how to perform essential CPR and the use of a defibrillator in an emergency situation where someone is in cardiac arrest. The pop-up events will be open across a number of different locations in London, including shopping centres and sports grounds.

In a cardiac arrest, every second counts and without lifesaving intervention – often from passers-by – the chances of survival decrease by about 10% with every passing minute.

Calling 999 immediately, starting chest compressions and using a defibrillator can vastly increase the chance of survival. There are more than 6,500 defibrillators across London.

New data released from a survey, carried out by YouGov, revealed that almost half of adults in London (43%) have never undertaken any form of training to learn CPR. With most cardiac arrests happening at home, knowing CPR and being confident to act could save a loved one’s life.

Between April 2020 and March 2021, London Ambulance Service attended more than 13,000 cardiac arrests. In that same time period, more than two-thirds of patients received CPR before crews arrived at the scene.

Dr John Martin, Chief Paramedic and Quality Officer for London Ambulance Service, said:

“It’s so encouraging to see that, although there is a large number of Londoners who haven’t learnt lifesaving skills, the majority of adults across the capital have.

“Learning these skills is so easy to do, and it could help save someone’s life. I would encourage Londoners to visit one of our training sessions this weekend to help gain confidence in knowing what to do in an emergency.”

Training sessions are free and available for anyone to attend.

Locations on Saturday include:

• Brewery Walk – Romford (9am – 5pm)
• The Mercury Mall – Romford (9am – 5pm)
• The Spires – Barnet (10:30am – 4:30pm)
• Goals – Surbiton (8:30am – 4pm)
• The Glade – Bromley (11am-4pm)
• Chimes – Uxbridge (9am – 5pm)
• Spitalfields Market – Spitalfields (11am – 5pm)
• Brentford Football Club (3pm – 6pm)

What you can do if you come across a person in cardiac arrest

When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their heart stops beating.

This means blood is no longer being pumped around their body and they are clinically dead.

The longer they go without what is known as emergency life-support, the harder it is to restart their heart. For every minute emergency life support is delayed their chances of recovery dramatically reduce, without emergency life support they will die.

Anyone can save a life – even as a passer-by in the street. When a person is in cardiac arrest it is vital they receive prompt intervention even if you have not had formal training.A defibrillator in a yellow cabinet attached to a wall as a person walks past

This intervention is: calling 999 immediately, starting chest compressions if it is safe to do so and sending someone to get a defibrillator if one is nearby.

Chest compressions pump blood around the body but it’s also really important to use a defibrillator if one is available.

Chest compressions aim to continue to supply oxygen to the brain and other vital organs, while the heart is not beating. A defibrillator will attempt to allow the heart to re start.

By using a defibrillator you cannot make the situation any worse. Defibrillators only provide a ‘shock’ to a person who needs one.

If you come across a person in cardiac arrest, this is what you should do:

  • Make sure it is safe to approach and then check for signs of life.
  • Check to see if the patient is breathing normally, if the patient is not breathing or making irregular gasps this is not normal.
  • Call 999 and if there’s someone with you, send them to get a defibrillator.
  • Defibrillators are located in large shops, GP surgeries, dentists, libraries and many other public places
  • The call handler will explain simply and clearly what you should do, so set your phone on speaker mode or make sure you can hear it.
  • Make sure the patient is lying on their back on the floor or the ground and remove anything under their head.
  • Place the heel of your hand on the breastbone – in the centre of the chest – right between the nipples.
  • Put your other hand on top of that hand.
  • Pump the chest hard and fast, at least twice per second and two inches deep.
  • Let the chest come all the way up between pumps.
  • Count out loud while you do this – the call handler will count with you and advise you if you need to speed up or slow down your compressions.
  • If there is a defibrillator available you, listen to the call handler’s instructions on when to use it.
  • Before you use the defibrillator, undo or remove any clothing from the patient’s chest.
  • Open the defibrillator and if there’s an On button, press it.
  • Find the pads – peel off the backing and apply the pads to the bare chest as shown in pictures that come with the defibrillator.
  • Once the pads are on, the defibrillator will analyse the patient’s heart and determine whether or not it needs to ‘shock’ the patient.  Do not touch the patient while the analysis occurs
  • The machine will tell you what to do. Follow its instructions – which are audible and visual.
  • If the defibrillator’s analysis does not find a shockable rhythm, resume chest compressions.
  • Keep doing chest compressions and listen to the instructions from the call hander and until ambulance crews are on scene and tell you otherwise. has been blocked due to your cookie preferences, you can change those by clicking on the cookie button on any page.
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