Students learn how to save a life

Photographs by SAM LEWIS

MORE than 150 Ripon Grammar School students have gained valuable life-saving skills, marking a decade of vital first aid training being rolled out across Yorkshire schools.

Year 12 students joined thousands of others throughout the county receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training on Restart a Heart Day.

Since the event began in 2014, the Yorkshire Ambulance Service has taught CPR to 202,529 students during 881 school visits thanks to staff and volunteers who have given 33,613 hours.

Lee Lyons, deputy head of sixth form, said it was a wonderful opportunity for RGS students: “We all know that what happens in the first few moments of a cardiac arrest is critical,” she said.

“We are very grateful to all those volunteers who have given their time to teach our Year 12 students the basic skills needed to help save a life, for the third year running. They are now so much more knowledgeable and confident in relation to how to react in an emergency."

Jason Carlyon, YAS community engagement manager, said: “The event has undoubtedly become a firm favourite with our staff and volunteers who have enabled more than 202,000 young people to receive vital CPR training.

“There have been many highlights over the years from seeing footballer Fabrice Muamba reunited with one of his life-savers in our first year at Fulford School in York to watching Paralympian Hannah Cockcroft, who suffered two cardiac arrests when she was born, learning CPR with us at a school in Halifax.

“Ultimately, it’s priceless hearing the many stories of people whose lives have been saved thanks to bystander CPR, and particularly rewarding to learn about those we have taught on Restart a Heart Day who have used their skills to give someone a fighting chance of survival.”

The campaign launch comes as research confirms how the training has a positive impact on people’s confidence and competence to step in and save the life of someone in cardiac arrest.

Results of a study among students who took part in last year’s training revealed that the life-saving lesson led to:

  • 83.64% being able to identify someone in cardiac arrest (42.25% increase from pre to post training)
  • 86.82% being confident to perform chest compressions (43.97% increase from pre to post training)

Over 30,000 people sufferer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital in the UK every year. If it happens in front of a bystander who starts CPR immediately before the arrival of the ambulance, the patient’s chances of survival double.

Currently in the UK, less than one in ten (8.6%) people survive a cardiac arrest. If we achieved the same survival rates of countries like Norway (25%), where CPR is taught in schools, an additional 100 lives could be saved each week - the equivalent of approximately 5,000 every year.

Supported by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Charity, the event is delivered in partnership with the Resuscitation Council (UK), British Heart Foundation (BHF) and St John Ambulance.

For more information visit Restart a Heart website or email