Free first aid training sessions could save lives

By Ian Dipple Friday 15 February 2013 Updated: 15/02 10:27

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Buy photos » Robert Underwood, from Redditch Heart Safe and Cliff Medicott, of West Midlands ambulance service and MP Karen Lumley. 07013003ncr1.

FREE training sessions are being held to help people use life-saving machines which restart the heart.

Redditch Heart Safe, SADS UK, West Midlands Ambulance Service and Redditch First Responders have joined forces to provide the defibrillator training sessions, with the first taking place at Batchley Community Centre on Saturday (February 9).

Basic first aid and CPR were also taught to the close to 30 people who turned up while Redditch MP Karen Lumley was also there to offer her support. The day also raised £35 towards buying another defibrillator for Redditch.

Over the last two years Robert and Maggie Underwood, the driving force behind Redditch Heart Safe, have been fund-raising to get the machines installed in schools and other public locations across the borough, following the death of their 16-year-old daughter Charlotte from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS).

But Mr Underwood said the training sessions were as important.

"We know a minimum of 19 children die from cardiac arrest in our schools each week, which is 19 too many when we could have preventive matters in place by having life-saving equipment installed, namely a defibrillator. We all deserve the best chance of survival this is why we are trying to give everyone the chance to learn basic CPR & defibrillator awareness."

There are plans to hold more courses in the future. Anyone interested in taking part should visit www.facebook.com/RedditchHeartSafe and register their details.

* RESIDENTS are being asked to decide which school will be the next to get a defibrillator.

A poll has been set-up on the Redditch Heart Safe Facebook page by Robert and Maggie Underwood.

They said: "This time we thought it would be nice for the public to choose where they would like the next one to go as a thank you for all their support over the last two years."

To vote visit www.facebook.com/RedditchHeartSafe which also contains a list of venues in Redditch which currently have a defibrillator, before March 1.

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