The local Polish PilIca scouts in Ealing recently had a First Aid session in which a volunteer doctor, who was also a mother of one of the girls, came to overlook and monitor us. She brought along with her a range of realistic CPR dolls, informative sheets, and a valuable, possibly life-saving lesson.

An estimated 10,000 people die every year in the UK from causes such as cardiac arrest or acute stokes; a number that could easily be lowered if a bystander knew CPR. With the UK’s disappointing track record of a 39% bystander CPR response rate, this is an issue that needs immediate attention.

The low bystander CPR response rate is widely due to the public’s general ignorance or hesitation in performing CPR, as well as the public’s more instinctive response; calling 911 and waiting for help. As a bystander of an incident you are the first responder and the one who has the most help to offer in case of an emergency.

There are many factors that contribute to someone with basic CPR knowledge deciding not to help, some of the main ones being the lack of real life experience, the disgust factor of touching a stranger so intimately in mouth to mouth, and the fear of somehow incorrectly performing First Aid and further hurting the patient.

In response to this issue, the UK government has taken many steps to educate the public in CPR and First Aid. School-children and youngsters are especially aimed in this First Aid education scheme as it contributes towards their life-skills and rears a generation that has confidence to step up and help a sufferer. Campaigns such as ‘Restart a Heart Day’, and ‘AED & CPR Awareness week’ have been ranked as very effective and informative ways of gaining awareness by the public.

Schools, youth centres and various scouting and cadet bodies have also taken the initiative and introduced First Aid mandatory or inset days and lessons in which CPR is taught.

The CPR lessons in the Pilica scouts session is an great example of this in action.

Weronika, one of the older scouts, said “I found our CPR session really insightful and helpful. I feel confident in helping a stranger and now know of more than one form of CPR”

In the session we learnt about the hands off CPR method for those who shy away from mouth-to-mouth, it involves constant compressions in the chest area, and is a great alternative. We also pumped chest compressions in beat with the famous ‘staying alive’ tune that accurately follows a hearts beats as well as learning specialised CPR that can be applied to small children and babies.

In our session we also talked about how we should approach a sufferer and call for aid, as well as what CPR can do to save an individual.

By performing either mouth-to-mouth or hands on CPR you can treble the individuals chance of survival. Immediate CPR can also help minimise heart tissue and brain damage and improve odds of rehabilitation.

The CPR session was a very well received lesson which none of the Pilica scouts will forget, it also marks the start of a new generation of well educated and prepared teens, knowledgeable in First Aid and ready to help.