Saturday 16th October marks World Restart a Heart Day. The purpose of the day is to increase public awareness of CPR and how to do it if someone suffers an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest so as to increase their chances of surviving. Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
A cardiac arrest is the term used when someone’s heart stops beating suddenly and their breathing is very abnormal or has stopped. CPR is the time-critical intervention that saves lives and the sooner it is started after cardiac arrest, the more likely that person is to survive. Most cardiac arrests will happen outside of the hospital environment and therefore it is family, friends, work colleagues and strangers that can make the difference by recognising that someone is unresponsive and has stopped breathing, calling 190 for an ambulance and starting CPR quickly. In some cases, performing immediate CPR can help double the chances of survival. Conversely, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by 10%.
The message is that CPR matters and that almost everyone can learn how to do it. On this basis the Gibraltar Health Authority has organised an awareness day on the 16th October which will include the offer of training on how to perform CPR being made available to the public.
The Gibraltar Health Authority have also enlisted the support of the Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Service, the Gibraltar Cardiac Association, St John Ambulance Association, and Gibraltar Football and Amateur Basketball Associations who will be joining forces on Saturday to help the public do this.
There will be demonstrations showing how to perform CPR and how to use a Public Access Defibrillator on Saturday between 10am and 2pm at various locations throughout Gibraltar. The teams will be based at the Piazza, outside Morrisons and the Tercentenary Hall at Victoria Stadium and until the midday at the Europa Point Stadium.
The GHA has produced video resources to help educate the public on how to react in a cardiac arrest situation and on proper CPR technique. The GHA has also organised for awareness posts to be posted on its social media platforms during the course of Saturday.
The Resuscitation Council UK and British Heart Foundation have online resources for those that are unable to participate face to face. Please access these and share the information in any way that you can with your families and friends.
Director or Nursing and Ambulance Services, Sandie Gracia MBE Hon FRCN, said: “Anyone can learn to perform CPR and it can make all the difference to saving someone’s life, don’t be afraid to start compressions, bystander CPR saves lives. Most cardiac arrests in Gibraltar happen at home, which means that you are most likely to be with someone you love, it can happen to anyone at any time. Learning CPR is the best gift you could give them. CPR saves lives. Please learn how to do it today because tomorrow, someone you love might need it.’
Minister for Health, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, said: ‘Taking effective and decisive action saves lives. If you are with or near someone who suffers a cardiac arrest, your quick action could save their life. The awareness campaign that the GHA has organised is extremely important. They are supported by the GFRS, St John’s Ambulance, The Gibraltar Cardiac Association and the GFA, I am grateful to all of them for their support and for coming together as one team. In addition to the awareness that they are creating they will also be offering training on how to perform CPR. This could save someone’s life and I encourage everyone to get involved.’