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Show Santa You’re All Heart This Christmas

Show Santa You’re All Heart This Christmas

Would you and your family members know what to do if Santa had a heart attack when he’s shimmying down the chimney this Christmas?

St John is encouraging people to give loved ones the gift of a St John first aid course this Christmas.

St John first aid courses give people the skills and confidence to make a real difference in a medical or accident emergency while an ambulance is on the way.

Most courses include training in the life-saving resuscitation technique CPR, which featured on the TV One programmeRapid Responselast night when a man went into cardiac arrest while driving his car. A passing off-duty nurse provided CPR while the ambulance was on its way. But would Santa be so lucky?

People in cardiac arrest need early CPR to have a chance of survival. Most cardiac arrests happen in the home, and the nearest ambulance may be some distance away.

Having family, colleagues and members of the public trained and confident in CPR can literally mean the difference between life and death until ambulance officers arrive to take over. People in cardiac arrest also need early defibrillation, which is a safe electronic shock provided by a defibrillator through the chest to ‘restart’ the heart. Ambulances - and Santa’s sleigh we hope - carry defibrillators.

To enrol for a St John First Aid Course, phone 0800 ST JOHN (0800 785 646) or visit the St John First Aid Courses section of our website

The benefits of knowing CPR: A personal story

New Zealander Alison Powell helped save her husband Richard Powell’s life by performing CPR while an ambulance was on its way, after he went into cardiac arrest in their home one evening.

Alison and Richard were home alone when Alison heard a crash. She went to investigate and found Richard lying on the floor, with his eyes open and his face deep red, turning blue.

"I remember hearing a strangulated cry that appeared to come from my throat, and then it was almost like someone had flicked a switch inside me, an autopilot switch. I suddenly had a checklist running through my mind,” Alison says.

Alison dialled 111 for ambulance, then put the phone beside her husband so she could hear the St John Ambulance Communications Centre call taker while she began CPR.

"I pushed Richard onto his back and started CPR. Doing CPR felt so natural, as if I had done this many times before. I had taken one first aid course and a CPR refresher. The St John call taker stayed on the phone continually encouraging me. It was incredible how quickly the colour in Richard’s face changed from red / blue to a more normal hue,” Alison says.

When the St John paramedic and ambulance team arrived, they took over Richard’s care. One team member continuously administered CPR while the others administered the necessary drugs and oxygen and provided a controlled electric shock to restart Richard’s heart. Richard was then stable enough to be taken to hospital. After a period of time in critical care, Richard made a full recovery.


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