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1 in 10 people survive a cardiac arrest out of hospital

If you see someone having a cardiac arrest, call 999 and start CPR immediately. It’s crucial to act immediately.

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It refers to the chest compressions given to a person in cardiac arrest to keep oxygenated blood flowing around the body until further emergency assistance arrives.

Starting CPR, identifying and using the nearest defibrillator in the first 3-5 minutes after a cardiac arrest can increase someone’s chances of survival from 6% to 74% (JHMT, Importance of CPR and AED). 

The British Heart Foundation suggests that everyone learns CPR so they're ready to help in the event of someone becoming: 

  • unconscious and not breathing
  • unconscious and not breathing properly. 

It's also vital to know the difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack, and how to react.

Cardiac arrest

  • An electrical problem
  • The person will be unconscious
  • Call 999
  • Start CPR

Heart attack

  • A circulation problem
  • The person will probably be conscious
  • Call 999
  • Keep them calm

Be prepared

Knowledge of CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) is crucial, especially in sport or physical activity settings.

It’s vital that people in your club or organisation feel confident and are prepared to act quickly and effectively to help save people’s lives in the event of an emergency.

There’s lots of information and training available to help.

The Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT) provides key information on the importance of CPR knowledge and the use of defibrillators.

Their work shares powerful messages about Sudden Cardiac Arrest and the basic skills and knowledge everyone should have to know how to save a life.

It advocates for cardiac emergency procedures being in place across all levels of sport.

Much of the guidance from JHMT is linked to real life stories and re-emphasises the importance of CPR knowledge and the need for public access defibrillators to be available at all times. 

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs or defibrillators) are available in lots of community and open spaces like schools, churches, shopping centres, or sports clubs.

It’s important that your people are familiar with the location of the closest AED, you can find yours using the National Defibrillator Database.

Training opportunities

There are lots of training courses available including, but not limited to: 

  • The British Heart Foundation’s 15-minute free training session which provides participants with training on CPR. All that’s needed is a pillow and digital device to access the course. 

  • UK Coaching’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest eLearning Course, a 30-minute online training course providing life-saving advice via immersive and scenario-based learning, practical information, and tips.