A local project specialising in improving cardiac arrest survival rates has provided training to more than 2,000 people in just under two years in the hope of saving more lives in the county.
The Warwickshire Hearts project began as a collaborative project between Waterside Medical Centre, Warwick District Community First Responders and Warwick-based charity Evelyn’s Gift to increase the amount of people trained in CPR and with defibrillators.
Evelyn’s Gift was set up in memory of Evelyn Smith, who died in 2013 after having a viral and bacterial infection of her upper respiratory tract, which doctors had missed opportunities to diagnose and treat properly. One of the charity’s aims is to train as many people as possible in CPR and lifesaving skills.
Warwick District Community First Responders (WDCFRs) are volunteers, that provide a rapid response to 999 calls and work closely with Evelyn’s Gift.
The Warwickshire Hearts project now includes other GP practices in the area, as well as Warwick Rotary club and Avon Valley Community First Responders. It has trained adults and children at surgeries, schools, Warwickshire College, sports facilities and community groups, including several Scout troops and Cub and Brownie Packs.
It has also trained several trainers and assistant trainers from scratch.
On Monday the project hit a significant milestone by training their 2,000th person in lifesaving skills at Brookhurst primary school in Leamington during a session for parents.
Tracy Kewley, a trustee of Evelyn’s Gift and a Brookhurst parent, said: “The Warwickshire Hearts initiative shows what can be achieved when groups of committed people work together to make a positive change.
“It’s wonderful that so many more people in the local area have been trained in CPR and I’d urge anyone who hasn’t been taught these essential skills to book onto a course. It takes less than two hours to learn skills that could save someone’s life.”
Helen Smith, Evelyn’s mum, said: “Since Evelyn died, I have always found comfort in the fact that I had been trained in CPR and did everything that I could to give Evelyn the best chance of survival. I urge anyone that has not been trained to learn this skill. Working together, we are determined to improve survival rates in our area.”
Nick Shacklock from WDCFRs said: “We see training members of the public in CPR and use of an Automatic External Defibrillator as a major strand of our role as community based volunteers for the Ambulance Service.
“High quality CPR administered quickly by members of the public is the key activity that gives us and the Ambulance Service a fighting chance when we arrive on scene.”
Waterside Medical Centre manager, Tim Morris, said: “We are proud to support this initiative and are keen that CPR training is made available to as many local residents as possible to increase the chances of survival of sudden cardiac arrest victims in the Warwick district”.
Warwickshire Hearts is always looking for more groups to train in lifesaving skills.
Given the success of the scheme, the group is also looking to recruit people, preferably with some medical experience, to be trained as CPR/AED trainers.
Anyone interested in becoming a trainer or a training session should email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com