Life-sav­ing lessons

Para­medic Sara is on a mission:

Wilmslow Express - - FRONT PAGE -

KAREN BRIT­TON

APARAMEDIC is push­ing for a change in the law to make it com­pul­sory for public places to have life­sav­ing de­fib­ril­la­tors.

Sara Har­ris, 43, spoke to MPs at a spe­cial event in Par­lia­ment to pro­mote the im­por­tance of de­fib­ril­la­tors and CPR train­ing. She joined col­leagues from North West Am­bu­lance Ser­vice (NWAS) in mak­ing calls for a change in the law to make it com­pul­sory for all schools, busi­nesses and other com­mu­nity build­ings to have the life­sav­ing equip­ment and train chil­dren and staff how to use them.

The event was hosted by Andy Burn­ham, Labour MP for Leigh and Shadow Sec­re­tary of State for Health. Sara met Mr Burn­ham again this week to dis­cuss the is­sue.

Sara, of Sum­mer­fields, Wilm­slow, took a group of stu­dents from Wilm­slow High School to be part of the event and show how chil­dren are able to learn CPR.

This is part of the work Sara has been do­ing in her role work­ing in the com­mu­nity with NWAS.

Sara, mum to Thomas, six, and El­lie, 14, said: “When some­one suf­fers a car­diac ar­rest, their chances of sur­vival are based on luck that there is some­one there who knows what to do.

“Chil­dren are great at learn­ing how the use the equip­ment and if they learn the skills at school then they can take them home and are ready in case some­thing hap­pens.

“There is cur­rently no legal re­quire­ment to have one in your work­place. How­ever, hav­ing a de­fib­ril­la­tor avail­able can sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease a per­son’s chances of sur­vival should they suf­fer a car­diac ar­rest. Ev­ery minute that passes with­out de­fib­ril­la­tion re­duces chances of sur­vival by 10 per cent.

“There have been high pro­file cases of car­diac ar­rest such as Fabrice Muamba and Ted Rob­bins so peo­ple are more re­cep­tive to it. Now is the time to get the law changed.”

Sara, a para­medic for 13 years, has been on a onewoman mission to get a de­fib­ril­la­tor in ev­ery school in Wilm­slow. She has been vis­it­ing schools and teach­ing kids CPR.

Sara said: “I want to see ev­ery school in Wilm­slow with a de­fib­ril­la­tor and chil­dren trained in how to use them.

“We can do all this great work in the com­mu­nity but there will be no real change in sur­vival rates un­til we have leg­is­la­tion to make it manda­tory.”

An Au­to­mated Ex­ter­nal De­fib­ril­la­tor (AED) is used to de­liver an elec­tri­cal shock to a per­son’s heart in car­diac ar­rest, which is when the heart stops pump­ing blood around the body. This is not the same as a heart attack which is caused by a clot in an artery that sup­plies blood to the heart mus­cle. karen.brit­ton@men­media.co.uk @KarenBrit­ton1

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