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Today, on World Restart a Heart Day, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) delivered their first Great Western Heartstarters session within the Gloucestershire region, teaching Year 11 pupils from Severn Vale School in Quedgeley how to deliver life-saving CPR and how to use a defibrillator machine.
Great Western Heartstarters is a training initiative launched by the air ambulance charity aimed at teaching all school pupils across our region early life-saving interventions, and today celebrates 3 years since the programme first launched on Restart a Heart Day in 2016.
Since its launch, Great Western Heartstarters has trained over 3,000 school children these life-saving skills, and won the Voluntary and Community Sector Team of the Year in the Bristol and Bath Healthcare Awards last year, as well as being shortlisted in the Educational category for the UK Heart Safe Awards.
The programme is delivered by healthcare professionals who volunteer their time to deliver the training around schools, and today’s session was delivered by Dr Johannes Vopelius and Dr Pascale Avery, along with six other volunteers, involving group demonstrations and practical exercises.
“I think it’s a really valuable skill for everybody to learn so that we all have the ability and potential to save a life one day. Today’s session has linked really well to their course, as they are starting the First Aid module in November and its fallen on Restart a Heart Day. “It’s been really inspirational, the trainers have been so involved and enthusiastic and there’s quite a few students here today keen to go into the healthcare profession so it’s been nice for them to have the opportunity to meet people doing those jobs every day.”
Year 11 pupil Alex said: “I found it really helpful and entertaining in a way, I think this session will help me in the future, I’d feel comfortable using the skills I’ve learnt today outside of the session if I needed to.”
Around a third of the missions that GWAAC attend are cardiac arrests, and currently only 8% of people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Receiving CPR in the first 2 minutes can double their chance of survival, and so the programme aims to ensure that every child in our region leaves school with the skills and confidence to provide effective CPR to those in need.
“It’s been great to deliver the first Heartstarters session within Gloucestershire today and to see how the programme is expanding across our region. We’re lucky to have a great set of volunteers who help deliver the sessions and make them so effective, inspiring a generation of lifesavers. I’m looking forward to seeing the programme expand further, to help more loved ones return to their families after a cardiac arrest.”