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Why schools should be lifesavers

With the Scottish government launching its Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest strategy, we are urging secondary schools across Scotland to teach life-saving CPR skills to all pupils.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland launched its Nation of Lifesavers campaign last October, which calls for CPR to be taught in all secondaries. So far, more than 70 schools have registered for our innovative training programme, Call Push Rescue, which enables schools to become self-sufficient in teaching simple steps that could save a life (for more information, see bhf.orglifesavers).

According to the Scottish government, resuscitation is attempted on some 3,500 people each year outside hospital after they have suffered a cardiac arrest, but only 175 (5 per cent) survive. If Scotland achieved the same survival rates as parts of Norway (25 per cent), where CPR is taught in all schools, then 700 more people a year - 13 a week - could survive.

A BHF Scotland poll shows that 84 per cent of Scots believe all children should leave school with CPR skills, yet only 24 per cent would feel confident performing CPR on a loved one. The UK average is 29 per cent.

Jeremy Southam from Edinburgh, who is 48, survived a cardiac arrest last year when he collapsed while out running. Passer-by Robert Cramb stopped his car, called an ambulance and performed CPR while waiting for paramedics.

Jeremy told us: "I'm living proof of the importance of CPR, and I believe that all children should be taught these life-saving skills at school."

Simon Gillespie

Chief executive, British Heart Foundation

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