WEST Midlands Ambulance Service has welcomed the news that schoolchildren will be taught CPR from 2020.
The service, which is the only one rated ‘Outstanding’ in the country, said thousands of lives could potentially be saved in years to come if the youngsters, and adults of tomorrow, learnt the basic first aid skills.
Each year, West Midlands Ambulance Service attends about 4,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests and only seven per cent survive.
The trust said it was a shocking figure, especially when in some countries like Denmark, the figure was around 25 per cent.
Under the proposals, by the time they leave secondary school, pupils will have been taught how to administer CPR, the purpose of defibrillators, and basic treatments for common injuries.
West Midlands Ambulance Service Community Response Manager Cliff Medlicott, said: “There is no doubt coming across a cardiac arrest is scary.
“It’s different to a heart attack.
“In a cardiac arrest, the patient will be unconscious and their heart won’t be beating – they are clinically dead – unless someone is prepared to do something.
“Giving CPR buys the patient time, so the ambulance service can get there.
“You can’t hurt the person – doing something can only help.”
For every minute without life-saving treatment the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest drops by about ten per cent, meaning the time before an ambulance arrives is crucial.
Mr Medlicot added: “I can speak from personal experience – saving a life is the most incredible feeling – knowing that your actions mean someone will get to spend time with their loved ones when they wouldn’t otherwise have had that chance.
“A cardiac can strike anyone at any time – it could be a loved one, a friend, a complete stranger.
“If you know what to do, you could help save their life.
“Why would you not want to learn how to do CPR?
“It doesn’t take long to learn and there are courses all over the place.”