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South Harrow school has 266 children trained in lifesaving skills in single day

More than six thousand schoolchildren will have been taught how to save a life in the first few months of an ambitious campaign aimed at creating a generation of lifesavers, with the highest number of children trained in a single day being 266 at Whitmore High School in South Harrow.

London Ambulance Service (LAS) launched its London Lifesavers schools campaign on Restart a Heart day at the end of the last year.

Clinicians from LAS have already taught life-saving skills to more than 1,500 Year 8 children from schools across the capital. A further 4,681 are booked in for sessions in February and March.

The free training teaches children how to recognise when someone is in cardiac arrest and how to give chest compressions and use a defibrillator.

At the moment fewer than one in 10 people survive a cardiac arrest. Early chest compressions and the use of a defibrillator can more than double someone’s chances of survival.

Sam Palfreyman-Jones, Head of First Responders, said: “We want everyone in London to have the best possible chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.

South Harrow school has 266 children trained in lifesaving skills in single day Harrow Online
Image: London Ambulance Service

“More than 75 per cent of cardiac arrests happen in the home, so by teaching children these simple skills, they could save someone they love.

“The children are enthusiastic with lots of questions and love the training and we enjoy teaching them. Any school that wants us to take up this free offer should get in touch today!”

Paramedics and emergency medical technicians are visiting two schools every week, teaching hundreds of children a day.

James Rebbitt, headteacher at Whitmore High School, said: “Year 8 is a great age for children to learn these skills – they have the physical strength to do effective chest compressions and the training is so well taught, the children pick up the skills really well.

“We are very proud that our children are part of this programme which is creating a new generation of lifesavers.”

For the London Lifesavers campaign, analysts at LAS have studied data to plan where to offer training first and has targeted seven boroughs in the first few months. In February, the team will move to the next wave of boroughs and has invited more schools to take up the training.

Learn more about the London Lifesavers schools campaign.

The London Lifesavers team also train thousands of people at free pop-up events across London and offer training to businesses, charities and community organisations.

As part of the campaign, LAS is also seeking to get thousands more defibrillators into communities where they can start saving lives. In the last year 1,520 new defibrillators were registered by the Service, meaning London now has a total of more than 9,000 publicly accessible defibs.

You can get advice about buying a defibrillator here. London Lifesavers is funded through a grant provided by NHS Charities Together to our charity, London Ambulance Charity. You can find out how to support the charity and this life-saving initiative here.