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Star of life-saving video urges Londoners to learn simple skills

A paramedic will become a familiar face to thousands of schoolchildren after appearing alongside a TV-star doctor teaching people how to save lives by recognising when someone is in cardiac arrest, performing chest compressions (CPR) and using a defibrillator.

The video, which was made in partnership with London Ambulance Service, the Mayor of London and Transport for London, features paramedic Alexa Barton and television presenter Dr Chris van Tulleken and will be part of the free training offered to schools through the ‘London Lifesavers’ campaign.

Soon all Londoners travelling through the transport network will be able to scan a heart-shaped QR code on defibrillator cabinets, which leads them to the quick four-minute demo. You can also watch it on our London Lifesavers page here.

In the video, Alexa explains that the public can help someone in cardiac arrest by remembering simple steps – known as ‘DRS ABCD’: check for danger, look for a responseshout for help, open their airway, assess their breathing and immediately perform chest compressions while another bystander grabs a defibrillator.

Chris, who young Londoners will recognise from CBBC’s Operation Ouch, spent the day filming the video with Alexa at Transport for London’s HQ in Southwark.

Alexa said: “I’ve never been involved in doing a video like this before but think it’s a really innovative way to teach Londoners and our communities how easy it is to learn CPR.

“Early chest compressions and defibrillation is key for survival when someone is in cardiac arrest. The video will help teach commuters how to step in at the earliest opportunity and save someone’s life.

“It highlights the simple steps people can follow to recognise the signs of a cardiac arrest, call 999, undertake chest compressions and how to use a defibrillator.

“Importantly, this will equip Londoners with the skills and confidence to help in an emergency while an ambulance crew is on the way and improve the survival rate of cardiac arrests in the capital.

“Anyone can learn these life-saving skills – follow the instructions once you turn on the defibrillator and it’ll tell you what to do, where to apply the pads and whether you need to deliver a shock to restart a heart.”

The London Lifesavers campaign to create a generation of lifesavers by training school children was launched in October. Recently, staff from LAS taught more than 200 schoolchildren at the campaign’s launch event co-hosted by City Hall and supported by TfL.

The same day Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, alongside LAS and TfL, announced that there are now over 500 defibrillators across the capital’s transport network and unveiled the short training video.

Daniel Elkeles, Chief Executive of London Ambulance Service, said: “We are proud to support this life-saving programme to install defibrillators across the TfL network, and delighted to see it officially launch.

“We want London to be one of the best cities in the world when it comes to responding to cardiac arrest. The good news is that we have some of the best response ambulance response times in the country for these emergencies but every second counts before an ambulance arrives, and international evidence shows that increasing bystander intervention is the key.

“We need to build a social movement that makes CPR training one of the things that lots of people know how to do and we need to get defibrillators in every corner of the city.

“We would urge people to get in touch with us and train to become a London Lifesaver – with additional defibs across the capital, learning these skills could be the difference between life and death.”

The team trains members of the public at pop-up events across London and offers training to businesses, charities and community organisations.

Last year, London Ambulance Service responded to around 13,000 cardiac arrests across the capital. Fewer than one in 10 people currently survive a cardiac arrest and for every minute that goes by without life-saving intervention like CPR and defibrillation, the chances of a person surviving cardiac arrest decrease by 10 per cent.

London Lifesavers is funded through a grant provided by NHS Charities Together to our charity, London Ambulance Charity. We welcome donations to our charity here.

You can learn how to save a life on our dedicated London Lifesavers webpage.

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