Make CPR training compulsory in all secondary schools

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On the 19th March 2018 I survived a cardiac arrest at the age of 18 due to a rare, and at the time, undiagnosed congenital heart defect called ALCAPA; as well as low electrolytes and a rhythm issue. I was lucky enough to have received CPR from a stranger, who followed the instructions of the emergency services and then defibrillation from a first responder after 6 minutes. These brave actions ultimately saved my life.

This has made me aware of the impact of sudden cardiac arrests and how vital the early stages are to survival. it all comes down to the levels of bystander intervention, which can stop many preventable deaths.

Every year in the UK there are over 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests¹, or more than 82 a day, from which fewer than 1 in 10 will survive¹. Often these cases occur with no warning signs and are usually fatal. Every minute without CPR decreases the odds of survival by 7-10%².

One way to improve the survival rates for future generations is to teach children to recognise what a cardiac arrest is and to give them the confidence to use CPR until the emergency services or an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) can be used. This is something that would not be expensive as kits from the British Heart Foundation can be provided for free³ and it would only take up a short period of PSHE time. However, it would equip those in our communities to save lives and even without further training, they will be able to recall most of the knowledge.

This need can be seen through the higher survival rates in other developed countries, such as 25% in Norway, where more school children are taught CPR. The rate in Holland was 21% and 22% in Seattle between 2011-14⁴. This demonstrates how the UK is severely lagging behind and how this quick and inexpensive training can have such an impact. If the rate of survival can rise to 25%, to match Norway’s, it would save 5,000 lives a year⁵.

Please help me to try and save these lives.

¹ = British Heart Foundation

² = The American Heart and Stroke Association

³ =

⁴ = British Medical Journal

⁵ = The Telegraph