Learn to be a Lifesaver through our free CPR training campaign
Today we launch a joint campaign - Learn to be a Lifesaver - to help get more people in Suffolk trained in CPR.
Alongside BBC Radio Suffolk, the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star are organising six CPR training venues across the county, giving people the opportunity to learn the important life-saving skills for free.
Knowing what to do when someone collapses in the street, suffers a heart attack or falls unconscious can be the difference between life and death.
That’s why we want to increase the number of people who know what to do in a medical emergency by making it as easy as possible to pick up the skills.
Venues are being initially being set up in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Sudbury, Lowestoft, Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds - with lots of spaces up for grabs for those who want to take part.
This will then be extended as the campaign grows.
Those taking part will learn how to conduct CPR as well as how to use a defibrillator to shock a casualty back to life.
Volunteers from organisations including the East of England Ambulance Service and the British Heart Foundation have donated their time to conduct the sessions.
Brad Jones, editor of the EADT and Ipswich Star said: “We are very proud to be helping to launch this new joint campaign giving away free CPR training sessions across Suffolk. “It is hugely important as many people as possible learn these life-saving skills.”
Lesley Dolphin, from BBC Radio Suffolk said: “We have heard lots of stories about people who have had medical emergencies and needed CPR.
“We are in a really good position to get lots of people trained.
“I have a couple of friends who have needed CPR, one who managed to save his wife giving CPR in the middle of the night.
“It is amazing to think if you are not there to help them, they are gone.
“It is often not the easiest thing to get trained, most people don’t get round to it. We thought if it is easy, and doesn’t cost anything, more people will learn.”
BBC Radio Suffolk’s Matt Marvel added: “If these training sessions save just one life they will be worth it.”
Why is learning CPR so important?
Annabel Brightwell was just three-years-old when she suffered a cardiac arrest at Barking Pre-school.
Staff, who were all CPR trained, rushed to her aid, carrying out CPR on her for 20 minutes until an East Anglian Air Ambulance arrived to fly her to hospital.
It was later revealed that Annabel had an undiagnosed, pre-existing heart condition.
Annabel’s parents Rebecca and William, from Willisham Tye near Needham Market, said they were pleased to hear even more people would be learning the life-saving skills.
“It sounds fantastic,” said Rebecca.
“We know in Annabel’s case the quick actions of the staff were key to her survival.
“We have met people since, children and adults, who have had cardiac arrests and have had CPR performed on them from people they don’t even know. People don’t think it could happen to a child – but it could happen to anyone.
“It is so important as many people as possible know what to do in an emergency.”
Former editor of the EADT and Ipswich Star Terry Hunt knows all too well the importance of CPR training.
In May Last year, Mr Hunt collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest while walking in Ipswich but was brought back to life thanks to the quick actions of passerby Lisa Perry.
Lisa, who teaches CPR herself, carried out chest compressions on Mr Hunt while a paramedic shocked his heart with a defibrillator.
Mr Hunt said: “In this country if you have a cardiac arrest outside hospital your chances of survival are less than 10%
“That is primarily because not enough people know how to do CPR.
“That’s what we are trying to achieve with this campaign.
“I have learnt CPR through my experience – and if I can do it, anyone can.
“We just want everybody to commit to attend one of the sessions.
“Who knows, that decision may well save a life.”
To book a place on one of the free CPR training sessions email suffolk.CPR@bbc.co.uk