European Restart a Heart Week took place last week to create awareness that everyone can and should become familiar with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This was the first year that the HSE participated in the week.
Hundreds of HSE staff around the country took part in CPR familiarisation sessions, where health service staff could listen to a simulated 112/999 call, follow the instructions of a paramedic and practice CPR.
If someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their chances of survival double if it happens in front of a bystander who immediately rings 112/999 and starts CPR before an ambulance’s arrival.
If not, every minute without CPR will reduce the chance of cardiac arrest survival by 7 – 10%. It is essential that bystanders can recognise what is happening, call 112/999 for help, and begin CPR as soon as possible.
Other events were organised by partner organisations such as the Irish Heart Foundation, Dublin Fire Brigade, CFR Ireland and many CFR groups throughout the country. Participation was free of charge.
Eoghan Corrigan was one of the National Ambulance Service College students who supported the events in Dublin and he said “This is a good opportunity for us to share what we’re learning in college but even more importantly it might encourage someone to take the next step and take part in Community First Responder schemes.
The more people involved in these sessions, the more lives will be saved. It’s that simple.”
National Ambulance Service Director, Martin Dunne, said: “When the public telephone 112/999 for the ambulance service and get through to our call takers, they are trained to give CPR instruction over the phone. It is so important to be familiar with how help in the case of an emergency – by being familiar with CPR you could help save a life.”
Minister for Health Simon Harris commented “I am delighted to be participating in European Restart a Heart and would like to encourage others to join in. CPR is an invaluable life skill. It allows us to help someone in a time of need and increase their chance of surviving a cardiac arrest. That someone could be a loved one or a stranger. I commend the growing number of Community First Responders who are working with the National Ambulance Service to provide a first response in incidents of Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest"
Director General of the HSE, Tony O’Brien added “I can only encourage everyone to be familiar with CPR and indeed to consider getting the full training.
Being able to help someone who is in cardiac arrest could save their life. The level of interest from staff at all of the sessions in each location shows the interest people have in learning CPR.
Each community should have a Community First Responder group who can provide CPR to their neighbours as each minute of CPR counts”.
Participating in the event, HSE Head of Communications Paul Connors said “It’s great to see so many people turning up to these Restart a Heart sessions. There is no doubt that information like this can save the lives of many people. You never know when you will be walking down the street and skills like this will be needed”