Figures released by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) show that more bystanders than ever before are attempting to save the lives of people in cardiac arrest.
A cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood round the body, starving the brain of oxygen and causing the patient to fall unconscious and stop breathing.
A report from the ambulance service revealed that bystander CPR took place in eight out of 10 cases of cardiac arrest last year, a figure that stood at just over five out of 10 cases in 2014.
Chest compressions, rescue breaths and use of a defibrillator are the only way to help a person in cardiac arrest – without these interventions the person will die.
With members of the public able to make a real difference to the lives of people in their communities, North West Ambulance Service has launched its new ‘CardiacSmart’ accreditation scheme to celebrate and recognise those who actively help to increase survival rates from cardiac arrest.
Organisations, businesses, schools and other publicly accessible locations are invited to apply for CardiacSmart status by taking active steps to make their community safer and healthier.
Successful applicants will be awarded one of three levels of accreditation status; accredited, accredited+ and accredited partner, all of which are determined by specific criteria. This includes having a readily available defibrillator that is checked and maintained regularly and making a commitment to providing life-saving training.
All of those who achieve accreditation will receive a certificate, a memorandum of understanding signed by both parties and publicity materials to help promote their life-saving status.
Paramedic community engagement manager, David McNally, said: “Every second counts in a cardiac arrest so it’s so important that people in the community step-in and begin the simple but life-saving treatment as soon as possible.
“Doing CPR is the first step – it pushes oxygen around the body to prevent or limit damage to vital organs such as the brain. Defibrillators make the biggest difference and are incredibly easy to use as they speak to you and tell you exactly what to do. The increasing numbers of people in the North West of England willing to help in these situations is something we should all be incredibly proud of.
“Those who achieve accreditation will belong to a growing network of potential lifesavers and will receive support from the ambulance service to ensure they are able and prepared to save lives.”
Details can be found at www.nwas.nhs.uk/cardiacsmart.