Over 200 Year 8 students have received vital first-aid training in how to respond to an emergency and perform CPR.  The Richmond School students took part in a series of hands-on training that saw each of them work with a ‘Resusci Anne’ mannequin to simulate a real-life emergency situation.

Richmond School have ensured all their Year 8 students receive this vital training since the inception of the ‘Restart a Heart’ initiative by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance in 2014.  In previous years, a volunteer team of community first responders, firefighters, nurses and paramedics have visited the school to carry out the training with the students.  Unfortunately, due to visitor restrictions at school, this was not possible this year, however this did not deter Nicola Walker, Biology Teacher and coordinator of the programme, from ensuring the students didn’t miss out.

Mrs Walker not only made arrangements for an interactive video for the students to work through, using the 30 inflatable mannequins which had been generously supplied by The British Heart Foundation,  so the students could put the training into practice, but also led all the eight sessions so that the whole year group had the opportunity to be involved.

Mrs Walker said: “As well as now being included as part of the statutory curriculum, the ‘Restart a Heart’ project provides vital life skills for our young people.  Over 30,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest out of hospital in the UK every year and the earlier a patient can receive CPR and a shock from a defibrillator, the greater their chance of survival.  There are many people who are alive today because someone successfully performed this simple life-saving procedure.”

 The students learned about responding as quickly as possible in the event of someone’s heart stopping, and how that speed is of the essence when performing Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).  The students were very engaged with the training and the message of ‘Staying Alive’ was reinforced when they were performing CPR to the song of the same name by the Bee Gees, keeping in time with the rhythm.

Mrs Walker concluded: “CPR training is so important in people of any age, but for our younger students it instils the skills and confidence to save someone’s life. I was really impressed with the students’ attentiveness and how they embraced the training and put what they had learned into practice. Sadly, many lives are being lost every year because people lack the knowledge and confidence to step in and start CPR in a life-threatening situation.  The more youngsters who receive the training the higher the effect on cardiac arrest survival rates. It is most satisfying to know that, since 2014, more than 1,200 of our students have benefited from this essential training.”