Every week in Scotland 70 people will have a sudden unexpected cardiac arrest. That’s a little more than the number of people on a full double decker bus.
It can happen to anyone. Any age. Any time. Currently only four of these 70 people will survive to go home to their families.
Their chances of survival improve if they receive CPR – so Save a Life for Scotland is encouraging us all to learn the skills that might just save someone’s life.
Save a Life for Scotland is a collaboration of emergency services, third sector organisations such as the British Heart Foundation and St John Scotland, community groups, local authorities, academics, industry partners and the Scottish Government.
It has put together a short film ‘500 Times’, featuring TV personality Carol Smillie, to highlight that lifesaving CPR is easier than you think, and to stress that any CPR is better than no CPR.
CPR is urgently required when someone suffers a cardiac arrest, which means their heart has stopped beating. No blood is flowing to the brain and other vital organs and without immediate action, death occurs in a few minutes.
Bystander CPR means that the person who is beside the person who has had a cardiac arrest pushes hard and fast on their chest until help arrives from the ambulance service. If you don’t do CPR then the chances of that person surviving drops by 10 per cent with every minute that passes.
If someone collapses and is not breathing, first call 999 and then shout for help.
Then clasp your hands together, lock your fingers, knuckles up, lock your elbows and keep your arms straight.
Begin hands only CPR, pushing down hard to the beat of the well-known Proclaimers song ‘500 Miles’ on the centre of the person’s chest.
Keep going until ambulance arrives.
Remember don’t delay in starting CPR. Any CPR is better than no CPR.
And when you call 999, the emergency call handler will ask you some questions and advise you if CPR is needed and talk you through what needs to be done.
James Cant, director at British Heart Foundation Scotland, said: “When someone has a cardiac arrest their chances of survival decrease with every passing minute. After even a few minutes, if no-one has attempted CPR it is too late – but you can help.
“It’s vital that people know what to do in the event of a cardiac arrest.
“This includes calling 999 immediately, performing CPR and being able to access and use a defibrillator as soon as possible.
“This new film from the Scottish Government shows us that everyone should give CPR a go if someone nearby goes into cardiac arrest. We all have it in us to be life savers and it could be the life of a loved one that you save, as most cardiac arrests occur in the home.
“I’d urge everyone to spend a couple of minutes watching this film and absorbing its message, as it could make the difference between life or death.”
The film can be viewed at www.savealife.scot
And you can find out more about CPR at bhf.org.uk/cpr