Students deliver life-saving skills to schools

Paramedic students from Plymouth University have designed a programme to teach basic life support (BLS) to secondary school pupils all over the region.

The undergraduates are welcoming 250 pupils to the campus this week to teach them how to perform potentially life-saving exercises as part of the BLS Schools Project. The hour-long sessions include hands only CPR and putting a patient in the recovery position.

The initiative was the brainchild of paramedic student David Williams, whose own experience has taught him that immediate CPR can save a life.

He said: 

“Experience in my ambulance placements has shown me that bystander CPR performed before an ambulance arrives can be truly lifesaving. However, it is not mandatory that young people learn this vital skill and that is why the BLS in Schools project aims to spread this easy-to-learn skill across the South West. 

“I put together a very basic training programme and we’ve now got 40 students trained up to deliver it. The session teaches students about life as a student paramedic here at the University, hands-only CPR and the recovery position. We have had great feedback from the sessions we have run so far and look forward to delivering sessions during British Science Week 2016.”

Kirstie Brown, Lecturer in Paramedic Practice, said: 

“Studies have continuously shown that when a patient goes into cardiac arrest, their chances of survival decrease by 10 per cent every minute if they don’t receive CPR. The average ambulance response time is eight minutes, so that effectively leaves the patient with a 20 per cent chance of survival if they don’t get help immediately from someone on the scene.

“As trained paramedics, we and our students would do what we could in whatever the circumstances, but it makes so much sense for people to learn CPR from a young age. It’s very easy and really could save a life, so I’m delighted that David and the team have put the BLS Schools Project together.”

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Paramedic students at crisis simulation exercise. Students working with Fire and Ambulance service in mock incident on railway.
Paramedic Practitioner