In 2021, Devon Air Ambulance crews attended 333 patients who were suffering a cardiac arrest. This year the crew has so far attended 247 patients whose heart stopped beating.

Cardiac arrest is the most common reason their emergency medical team is called to help.

Training in the heart of local communities

As part of our Help with all your Heart campaign, we launched a public survey in February (2022) to find out how people felt about helping someone in cardiac arrest and what might stop them from stepping in.

Almost two thirds of respondents said they would be willing to step in and help but were felt lacking in two vital things that would empower them: knowledge and confidence. Respondents also stated they would be interested in finding out more.

We set about planning a five CPR & defibrillator training days across Devon, designed to dismantle those barriers. The training was a huge success with all who fed back saying they would recommend this invaluable training to a friend.

Several sessions were available over each training day which included a presentation by DAA Specialist Paramedics, allowing the local people to learn about the differences between a heart attack and cardiac arrest, as well as a hands-on session learning how to carry out effective CPR and how to use a defibrillator.

Building confidence and saving lives

Many participants described feeling much more knowledgeable about cardiac arrest and importantly, confident about stepping in to help someone suffering a cardiac arrest before specialist medical help arrives. Early intervention from a bystander giving CPR and using a defibrillator has been proven to give the patient a much better chance of survival.

Ginette Gisborne, Communications Manager at Devon Air Ambulance, said:

It was fantastic to see so many people attend our first five training days, from retired couples and those who knew of a defibrillator in their local communities, to those who were retired medical professionals who came along to refresh their previous knowledge.

'We are thrilled to be able to plan more training days for 2023. Our team of Specialist Paramedics, who sadly have first-hand experience of many cardiac related incidents, will once again be leading the sessions. Giving people the knowledge and the confidence needed to help their loved one, a neighbour or a stranger in cardiac arrest means that another life may be saved.'

Teams are now planning when and where the next set of training days will be held and invite you to register your interest in attending a future training session.

Register your interest in forthcoming CPR & defib training