CPR Training – Tuesday 28th March 2017

Start like a dummy; finish as a potential lifesaver!

Walking into the Village Hall mid setup for the CPR training course being given by Chris Abbot and his colleagues Michael and Jan (Arlecdon & District First Responders), it looked a bit like a medical emergency was in full swing with all the equipment (training dummies, defibrillators etc.) that was laid out on the floor. After a nice warm welcome and some introductions we sat down in the front row seats. I stared at the equipment before me thinking oh no what have I let myself in for!

After a few minutes all the seats were taken and extra ones were being put out to accommodate the twenty or so people (youngsters through to pensioners) who like me were probably thinking this looks a bit daunting!

Chris began by giving us some facts and figures about how many cardiac arrests happen every year in the UK and what surprised me was the number of children affected. Chris also informed us of the survival rates from cardiac arrests across the country and in particular Cumbria. I thought these statistics did not sound too promising if you have the misfortune to suffer a cardiac arrest when you’re out and about in these parts. Chris and his colleagues explained (complete with animations) the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest. Chris emotionally added some of his heart felt experiences of dealing with various situations, where the outcome has been at both ends of the life and death spectrum. It was pointed out that the key to a higher chance of survival is getting help quickly and even better if it’s help that possesses the skill with which I, along with all the other trainees in the hall, were about to acquire.

At this point I was sat there hanging on every word feeling like one of the training dummies (and probably looking like one too!) I was thinking; what would I do if I was in a situation where I am the cavalry? (panic!!!). The information from the First Responders was coming thick and fast and at first seemed overwhelming, but then with repetition of the information I started to take in and remember what was being said. The session started with a structured approach including the training delivery through to putting someone in the recovery position. After several videos (no gory or traumatising bits, just played out facts of life) along with the practical experience of administering CPR (to the dummies) and the use of defibrillators that tell you what to do and when to do it, I felt confident that should an unfortunate event happen where I am, then I’m sure I can now make a difference.

To complete the training we did a full run through (DRS ABC) which involved looking out for Danger, checking for patient Response, Shouting for help, checking the Airways, Breathing, and administering chest Compressions which included cutting clothes off the training dummy, and attaching and operating the defibrillator under its instruction. All this really made the training come to life.

In summary this was one of the best courses I’ve attended in recent years. There was no coercion to get involved but the material being delivered compelled you to do so. There was plenty of banter but the serious subject was delivered in a way that encouraged people to ask questions and feel comfortable with their new skills.

Thank you and well done to Chris, Jan and Michael for this well presented and helpful event. Not only do you do a fantastic job volunteering as First Responders, you are passionate to help others acquire the skills to make a difference.

Anyone reading this review should make time to attend one of these sessions. You won’t be disappointed and you will walk away with a new skill (or refreshed skill) that one day could save someone’s life.