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Islanders invited to get involved with Restart a Heart day

10 October 2018

​Islanders will be able to find out about a new opportunity to help the emergency services, and learn more about saving a life, at the annual Restart a Heart Day events next week.

The events, which will involve demonstrations of how to perform CPR, are on:

  • Tuesday, 16 October in Brook Street (by Jack Wills in King Street) from 9.30am to 4pm
  • Tuesday, 16 October at Les Quennevais Sports Centre from 9.30am to 4pm

As well as reminding islanders about performing CPR, Jersey’s Ambulance Service are also looking for people who may be interested in becoming a ‘Community First Responder’ (CFR). CFRs are an ‘extra pair of hands’, trained to provide basic first aid to respond to incidents before an ambulance crew arrives. 

Ambulance Trusts are using CFRs increasingly in the UK. The Ambulance Service are hoping to recruit at least 6 people from each parish who can offer at least 4 hours commitment per week. Training, police checks and basic kit will be provided by the Ambulance Service.

Janet Davison, Training and Development Officer for the States of Jersey Ambulance Service, said: “Restart a Heart Day has become a well-known part of the Jersey calendar and is a great opportunity for people to learn or refresh Basic Life Support and CPR skills. Hopefully it will also help them feel more confident if they need to use these skills. 

“Anyone could encounter a situation where a casualty’s heart has stopped beating, whether it’s a loved one or someone they’ve never met. Early recognition and CPR are the first links in the Chain of Survival. 

“It’s important to stress that a Community First Responder is not a replacement for an ambulance and they would not be sent instead of an ambulance; they are an extra pair of hands, before the arrival of the ambulance. This scheme has run for the last few years and the CFR is always backed up with an ambulance. 

“They will only respond to certain calls, the main one being cardiac arrest.  An ambulance will be sent but if, for example, the patient is at St Catherine and the nearest ambulance crew is in town, it would take at least 8 minutes for the crew to arrive. If there were a CFR nearby they would start CPR while waiting for the crew to arrive. Immediate CPR is vital for a patient whose heart has stopped beating as brain cells begin to die after 3 minutes and heart muscle after 8 minutes.” 

Cardiac arrests are few and far between (128 in 2017). However, the CFR can also play an important part in reassuring casualties until the arrival of the ambulance.     

There are around 45 Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) sites in Jersey, but many islanders would still hesitate to use one because they regard defibrilators as a specialist piece of equipment.

UK statistics show that those suffering an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest have less than a one in ten chance of surviving. This contrasts with other countries where CPR is more widely taught, for example Norway where the survival rate is four times higher.

Anyone who wants to find out more about becoming a Community First Responder who can’t attend the event in Brook Street on 16 October can visit:

  • St Ouen’s Parish Hall on Thursday, 25 October, from 6pm to 8pm or 
  • St Clement’s Parish Hall on Thursday, 1 November, from 6pm to 8pm. 

The Ambulance Service will be in attendance to provide more information.

Anyone interested can also call 444711 or email ja.davison@health.gov.je to find out more.

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