Last week I was lucky enough to be able to attend an extremely useful course, Automated External Defibrillator Training. I wasn’t even sure I had applied to go on the course but was assured that as I had responded to an e-mail asking which staff in the school had completed previous HeartStart training, I had been selected to attend this extended training session. Not something you would normally associate with the LRC.
Just to give a little bit of background to the reason for the course – North Lanarkshire, in conjunction with NHS Scotland and partner agency Amey, aims to install Automated External Defibrillators (AED) in each of its 24 High Schools, by March 2014, at a cost of £70,000. Given that the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest increase from 2% with limited CPR to around 40% with CPR, defibrillation within 4 minutes and paramedic response within 8 minutes, this seems a small price to pay to save lives.
The course was delivered by a paramedic, along with members of the St. Andrew’s Ambulance Volunteers, who reminded us of the DRs ABC (Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing, Circulation) and the recovery position, before practising our basic CPR on Resus Annie, finally progressing to the AED units. The defribrillators are designed to be used by untrained members of the public and the instructions are clear and easy to follow, you really just have to know basic CPR.
Having attended the course and listened to the paramedic’s statistics on the likelihood of surviving a cardiac arrest on the streets of Britain (less than 5%) in comparison to that of Norway (50%), where First Aid education is taught to school children aged 6-16, I feel that all of our children (ideally everyone) should know at least some basic first aid. Even if it is only how to put a friend, who collapses, into the recovery position while they get help. I went home to give my 15 year old daughter and her friend a quick first aid refresher – just in case! I just hope that I never have to use these vital skills but am more confident now that I can if the need arises.
That’s one e-mail I’m glad I responded to!