London Ambulance Service is calling on Londoners to join a life-saving movement that will create 100,000 every day heroes, who – with some simple training – would be able to save a life.
The London Lifesavers campaign aims to recruit and train 100,000 life savers who are able to perform chest compressions and use a defibrillator – that’s the device that uses an electric shock to help revive someone should their heart suddenly stop pumping blood around their body, which is known as cardiac arrest.
Across the capital last year, London Ambulance Service responded to almost 14,000 cardiac arrests, and in the few minutes it takes for an ambulance crew to arrive at the scene, the actions of passers-by can make the difference between life and death. Without lifesaving intervention like CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) and defibrillators the chances of survival decrease by about 10% with every passing minute.
Dr Fenella Wrigley, chief medical officer, said: ‘To save a life is an incredible thing. I speak from experience when I say that knowing you have helped bring an individual back to life will stay with you forever. With a bit of training, performing chest compressions and using a defibrillator is actually very straightforward and you will not harm a patient trying to help them.
‘We want to equip the people of London with the knowledge and the confidence to be able to help when it truly matters – training to do chest compressions and using a defibrillator (which uses audio and visual prompts to help you and monitors heart activity so that you can only send a shock when it’s the right thing to do) doesn’t take long, but the impact it can have can last a lifetime. Join us, and become a London Lifesaver today.”
A cardiac arrest happens suddenly, and sadly, it can happen to anyone, at any time. In the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest, every moment can make a difference – if a member of the public intervenes and is able to start chest compressions straight away, the chance of survival increases significantly, and the extent of possible brain injury can also be reduced.
Daniel Elkeles, chief executive, said: ‘I have done my training, and can proudly call myself a London Lifesaver. I would urge everyone – whether a member of the public, part of a community group, or part of a business or company, to get in touch with us and sign up to be a London Lifesaver. It will give you the skills and the confidence to make a difference.
‘Life in our busy capital, and particularly living in these times of a global pandemic, means that we can sometimes feel disconnected from one another. We’re offering the opportunity to learn some basic and absolutely crucial skills that mean you can be there for someone when they need you most, which, sadly, could be a loved one.
‘I hope that, with enough London Lifesavers signed up, we can make a widespread difference to our city.’
The project is backed by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan who said: ‘Our capital is at its very best when ordinary people come together to do extraordinary things. That’s why I’m really pleased to support ‘London Lifesavers’ and urge Londoners to sign-up. Through this training 100,000 people will learn skills that could save lives, as the actions taken in the minutes before ambulance crews arrive to a patient suffering cardiac arrest can be the difference between life and death.’
The London Lifesavers project, which has been boosted by £895,000 of funding from NHS Charities Together, aims to bring the number of trained volunteers to 100,000 and increase the number of defibrillators around London to more than 10,000. Achieving that will mean more than 100 lives ever year could be saved.
Through the scheme, London Ambulance Service will work with communities, organisations and the public to deliver training in CPR, and support local communities to introduce a further 4,000 public access defibrillators in London.
Once trained, Londoners will have the option to be connected to London Ambulance Service automatic alerting systems, such as the GoodSAM app. These systems are linked to our 999 call system and send out an alert to London Lifesavers when someone nearby is in cardiac arrest. Importantly, our 999 call handlers are always here to help if you witness someone collapse and can talk you through what to do. London Lifesavers will also be kept up to date via regular newsletters on the latest guidance and news stories.
There are lots of ways to get involved and become a London Lifesaver, including opportunities for organisations, communities and workplaces.
- Enrolling on a London Ambulance Service emergency life support training course aimed at groups and individuals
- Signing up communities or large organisations to a London Lifesaver ‘train the trainer programme’ (where we teach one person in the group who can then pass that training on)
- Attending a free public pop up training session delivered by the ambulance service.
The London Ambulance Service also offers support and advice on how to buy and use defibrillators for communities and organisations in London.
In the longer term, as the number of recruits begins to grow, London Ambulance Service will consider other ways their London Lifesavers might help communities from checking in on the elderly and vulnerable in periods of extreme weather to collecting prescriptions or driving mobile patients to treatment centres.