The Norfolk Accident Rescue Service (NARS), in partnership with the Community Heartbeat Trust (CHT) are hosting a ‘Bystander CPR’ event at Discover Downham – the Old Fire Station from Friday 21st September till Sunday 23rd.


England has one of the lowest survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrest – currently at about 7%. Every year, thousands of people die when they could potentially have been saved - by prompt and correct action by bystanders – the people who happen to be nearby. Cardiac arrest survivor Tim Warner says in our video ‘Your chances of survival depends on who’s standing next to you.’


NARS Chairman, Critical Care paramedic Chris Neil said ‘Too often we rush to a cardiac arrest, only to find that the patient has been placed in the recovery position; no CPR, no defibrillation. We can bring a great deal of advanced care to the scene, but it’s vital that the people with the patient, do the right things in those vital minutes while the emergency services are on their way. It makes such a difference to the likelihood of a good outcome.’


The aims of the project are: to help members of the public to recognise when a person is in cardiac arrest; to understand the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest; to educate people about the immediate actions they need to take; to teach them how to do effective chest compressions and to use an AED (defibrillator).


Training will be provided by volunteer paramedics and Community First Responders and will take about 30 minutes. The event is free and is open to all ages.


The project has been made possible by an award from the Downham Market Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ scheme. This has paid for the making of videos, which explore the issues and seek to dispel some of the myths around CPR – plus information leaflets and cards for attendees. The videos have been extensively promoted on social media, resulting in over 75,000 views. The organisers are also grateful to the trustees of Discover Downham for the use of the premises to host the event.


NARS Manager Paul Strutt said ‘We hope the event will be well attended. We find that less than 10% of a cross-section of the public know how to do CPR – and we want to help change that. We are only going to improve survival rates by educating people. What can be more important than learning to save someone’s life?’


The event is open:

Friday 21st: 1.30pm to 7pm

Saturday 22nd: 11am to 7pm

Sunday 23rd: 11am to 4pm.


At ‘Discover Downham’ The Old Fire Station, Priory Road, Downham Market PE38 9JS.


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