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16 October

Trigger Response teach school children to Restart a Heart

Restart a Heart
Jessica Mason and Ian Edwards at Boswells School

The Trigger and Response Team (TaRT) headed to Boswells School to teach 128 students basic life-saving skills to mark World Restart a Heart Day.

TaRT trio Ian Edwards, Jessica Mason and Nicola Boutilier ran interactive sessions for students ranging from year 7s to sixth formers, giving them vital advice around choking, the recovery position and life support outside of the hospital.

“The children were really engaged,” said Ian Edwards, matron for resuscitation, training, trigger response and hospital at night. “This was something outside of the classroom and a really practical session. If anything they were overenthusiastic – next time we’re going to take a whistle!

“We emphasised the need to identify and escalate – to dial 999 and call an ambulance – and then start a form of CPR. If they can get on the chest and remember a few facets of what we’ve told them, that’s all we can ask for.

“If we can get to more schools and promote life support outside the Trust and promote the Trust within the schools it’s going to benefit everyone.”

Boswells' headteacher Steve Mansell said: "I'd like to thank Broomfield team for coming along and offering their services to teach our students. Feedback from the children was extremely positive. They all had a lot of fun and learnt a lot. Anything we can do to improve safety in the school is a positive and hopefully this is something that can continue." 

On the same day at Broomfield Hospital, the team’s Lee Ellis, Sarah Hales and Jane Hill were in the atrium with mannequins, a defibrillator and an instructional video to help any members of the public who wanted to brush up on their CPR.

Lee, a resuscitation officer and trigger response nurse, explained the thinking behind Restart a Heart Day.

“We realise how important the first response is to anyone in cardiac arrest. It’s what happens in that first vital few minutes that dictates how things are going to go when people get to hospital.

“As care providers it’s really important that we teach the general public and children in school these vital life-saving skills because ultimately if a member of the public receives good CPR and early defibrillation, it makes their chances of survival or of getting ROSC (return of spontaneous circulation) much better once they arrive at hospital. If they haven’t received these vital skills before they get to hospital then the chances of resuscitating them is very small.

“In other countries such France and Switzerland, CPR is part of their national curriculum. In this country that is not the case at the moment although that is soon changing. At a nation we tend to avoid talking about issues like resuscitation because nobody likes to think about ill health when they’re well.

“By training the general public, hopefully we’ll be able to improve the statistics we see on a daily basis as resuscitation officers.

Lee wants to encourage anyone who comes across someone who is not breathing to trust themselves and attempt CPR.

“Don’t be scared, you won’t do any harm. If someone is in cardiac arrest, technically they are dead and you can’t do anything to harm a dead person. Even if you can’t remember exactly the ratio of breaths to compressions, just have a go. Don’t be that person that walks past. You might save a life.”

For more information about how to perform CPR, head to the NHS website: