Crew mates at the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) who teach basic life support to students in their spare time are set to reach a significant milestone in the training.
Lee Umpleby and Jack Broomfield began teaching pupils at Castle View School in May 2023 as an expansion of the training they provide in the community.
The pair, who co-ordinate the Canvey Island Community First Responders scheme (CFR), have taught basic life support to over 800 pupils and are on course to complete the training of over 1,000 pupils by the end of the year. The two-hour interactive sessions covers CPR, using an automated external defibrillator, the recovery position, how to maintain a patient’s airway and what to do if someone is choking.
Jack – a former pupil of Castle View School – and Lee hope to drastically improve the number of people who can recognise a cardiac arrest and act fast to help save a life. These steps are vital in the ‘chain of survival’ – a sequence of steps that together maximise the chance of survival following cardiac arrest.
Every minute following cardiac arrest without cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by up to ten per cent. In some cases, early CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of survival.
It is estimated that public-access defibrillators (PADs) are used in less than ten per cent of cardiac arrests, and increasing confidence using a defibrillator is the key part of the training.
Lee and Jack and the CFR group also run similar sessions for adults, as well as courses in schools tailored for younger children on when to call 999 and what to do if faced with a medical emergency.
They have to date trained over 1,500 adults and children – and counting. They also audit 26 public access defibrillators in Canvey Island to make sure they are in good working order when needed.
“The partnership with Castle View School is working extremely well and it is something we are looking to extend further with other schools.
“We see first-hand when working at EEAST the positive impact that good-quality bystander CPR can have in improving patient outcomes and this is a great way to increase the number of people with basic life support skills.
“It is our mission to train as many people as possible basic life support.”Lee Umpleby, who is a senior paramedic at EEAST, said:
“Both Lee and I love giving back to our communities and it’s great going back to my old school to teach basic life support.
“We try to make the sessions as fun and engaging as possible as it’s vital that children are enjoying learning skills that could one day save someone’s life.”Jack Broomfield, an emergency care support worker, said: