It’s been a long week and first aid has been top of the agenda. The new St John campaign is “A first aider in every street” – a number of AMs have signed up to this fantastic campaign which aims to make sure that every street in Wales has someone who can help in an emergency.

I took 3 days off work this week to attend a First Aid at Work course in St John headquarters in Cardiff as my previous qualification had expired and work commitments meant I couldn’t attend our normal training in Division. It was a good refresher – it’s the basics that count and we all need to keep our skills up to scratch…

…which is something that struck a nerve on Friday night when a close family member had a cardiac arrest – and from that one horrific moment when everything went wrong, suddenly everything went right. Two Consultant Doctors witnessed the collapse and immediately started CPR. The Mumbles First Responder teams and two ambulances arrived in a target-breaking 6 minutes and thanks to Early Repsonse and Early CPR, they were in a shockable rhythm when the Paramedic got on scene. Thanks to those incredible people who knew what to do, some of which are volunteers, they’re now in hospital, alive, waiting for an operation that will help repair some of the damage.

Friday night brought everything together – the reason why we do this, the reason why the course is focused so heavily on the basics and the reason why we practice and practice and practice.

The statistics are shocking – fewer than one in five people survive a cardiac arrest here in the UK, with the survival rates as low as 2% in some cases. Compare this with Norway, where CPR is taught in schools and the survival rates rise to 52%.

So, the only question left is this – why aren’t you doing something about it as well?

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