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On Tuesday 16 October 2018, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) hopes to smash the milestone of providing a total of 100,000 schoolchildren with the life-saving skill since the annual event began five years ago. National Restart a Heart Day has been organised through the joint effort of leading UK charities and emergency services, including the Resuscitation Council (UK) and the British Heart Foundation, which is donating free training kits to the schools taking part.

Restart a Heart Day is a Europe-wide initiative developed by the European Resuscitation Council. It was launched in 2013 to teach members of the public how to help restart the heart of someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest. Humberside Fire and Rescue Service crews and Community Safety Advocates will be at schools around the region helping train hundreds of school children alongside their ambulance colleagues.

[Pictured are staff and students at Headlands School in Bridlington]

Restart a Heart Day was adopted by the International Liaison Committe on Resuscitation to encourage mass CPR training on a global scale.

Every year, around 350,000 Europeans suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). OHCA can occur anywhere, for example in the street, at work, or while exercising or doing other strenuous activity. Unfortunately, the vast majority happen at home, where family members are the only witnesses and the only ones with the chance to save their loved ones.
Bystander CPR by lay people increases survival by two to three times, however, today it is delivered in only one in five OCHA cases. That is why fewer than one in 10 of these patients survive today. Increasing this rate may save 100,000 lives in Europe per year.

“Unfortunately, only a small minority of cardiac arrest victims receive this vital help in time to save their life,” says Professor Maaret Castrén, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and immediate past Chair of the European Resuscitation Council.

Bystander CPR rates vary widely across Europe, with Andalusia in Spain as low as 12%, Germany 15%, through to very high rates in the Netherlands (61%) and Sweden (59%). The actual survival rate varies with the setting with some countries as low as 6%, whereas countries with an excellent record in bystander CPR such as the Netherlands and Norway see survival rates as high as 40%.

“If we could improve rates of bystander CPR in Europe to the levels seen in these best-performing nations, then around 100,000 lives could be saved each year across Europe,” says Prof Castrén. “We are certain that if more people were trained (eg all relatives of a high-risk population with cardiovascular diseases or families of people who have already survived a cardiac arrest or heart attack), 50% of the deaths by cardiac arrest could effectively be prevented.”

To put these numbers in context, the estimate of 350,000 OHCA deaths is equivalent to 1,000 deaths per day every day of the year across Europe; two full jumbo jets crashing with no survivors each and every day. By comparison, 28,000 people die across Europe each year in road accidents, but despite this the figure invested in road and car safety each year is much higher than that invested in CPR.

On Restart a Heart Day, a number of instructors will visit schools across the Humberside service area. Public Safety Advocates will be attending some of the sessions to support their YAS colleagues. In Hull and East Yorkshire, CPR training sessions will take place at:

Beverley Grammar School
Beverley High School
Bishop Burton College, Beverley
Cottingham High School
Headlands School, Bridlington
Hessle High School
Howden School
Hull Trinity House Academy
Hymers College, Hull
Newland School for Girls, Hull
Pocklington School
Riverside Special School, Goole
St Mary’s College, Hull
Wilberforce College, Hull
Wolfreton School and Sixth Form College, Willerby
Wyke Sixth Form College, Hull