What would you do if you saw someone collapse, clutching his chest? Spring into action, or trust that somebody else might?

According to a new report by the British Heart Foundation, only three or four in 10 of us intervene in these circumstances, at the cost of thousands of lives.

The stats are stark: survival chances drop by around 10% with each minute without a shock to the heart, either by CPR or a defibrillator. After 10 minutes, survival chances drop to 2%. “The most common thing people say to us is they wouldn’t do anything because they wouldn’t want to make things worse,” says Clive James, a trainer with St John Ambulance. “But in the case of cardiac arrest, you can’t make it worse because if you don’t do something that person will die.”

Here are some simple, memorable steps you can take to help...

- In the case of CPR, he advises providers to compress the chest to the rhythm of Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees (a method famously advocated by Vinnie Jones in a 2012 BHF advert)

“FAST” for spotting the signs of a stroke (Facial weakness; Arm weakness; Speech problems; Time to call 999)

For choking victims, there are four steps: cough; slap; squeeze it out; call for help (encourage the person to cough, use five sharp blows to the back, squeeze out the obstruction using up to five abdominal thrusts or Heimlich manoeuvres, then, if all else fails, call). The final step is call for help.

St John Ambulance issued new advice on helping choking babies. Previously, parents were told to place the child face down along one forearm and strike the baby’s back with the other hand. Now the advice is to place the baby on a thigh while sitting down, supporting it with one hand while striking with the other (five times with the heel of the hand between the shoulder blades)

In the meantime, awareness is key. “Nobody should ever be afraid to help someone in need,”

 

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