The British Heart Foundation (BHF) declares February as National Heart Month, every year in the UK. During this time, they hope to raise awareness of heart conditions. The campaign is the perfect chance for us to help spread the word about cardiac-related incidents, which make-up 22% of the calls we were tasked to last year.

BHF Heart Month We

Each year we provide resuscitation attempts to approximately 300 people following an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Last year, around 12% of the patients we responded to did not receive bystander-delivered CPR and around 90% did not have a defibrillator by their side until the arrival of the first ambulance.

Over 75% of cardiac arrest patients collapse in their own homes. This means you are more likely to need to help a friend or family member than a stranger. Taking a few moments to think about what you would do in the event of a cardiac arrest could save the life of someone close to you.

Plan ahead to help save lives

  1. Recognise a cardiac arrest or heart attack

    A cardiac arrest is a medical emergency where the heart stops beating effectively. When this happens, blood stops pumping around the body causing the person to fall unconscious and stop breathing normally.

    Many cardiac arrests occur because of a heart attack, however, a heart attack is not the same as a cardiac arrest. A heart attack is when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked and the heart’s blood supply is stopped, which could lead to a cardiac arrest.

  2. Call 999 for help

    In a medical emergency call an ambulance by dialling 999 or 112.

    Try to have the following information available when you call:
    - The location – area, address, postcode or What3Words.
    - The phone number you are calling from.
    - Exactly what has happened.

    If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired, you can contact the ambulance service by texting from your mobile. This facility is available in any type of emergency and is for people who can’t use the standard 999 voice or the RNID’s text relay services. To use the text service you must register your mobile phone on the emergency SMS website.

  3. Learn CPR today

    Learning CPR takes just 15 minutes and could help save a friend's or loved one's life. All you need is a cushion and your phone.

    Roll out CPR training in your workplace and become a life-saving team, make sure to speak to your employer about this.

    Learn CPR for free in 15 minutes
  4. Find and use a defibrillator

    A defibrillator gives a jolt of energy to the heart, which can help restore the heart’s rhythm, and get it beating normally again. This piece of equipment is easy to use and doesn’t require training.

    Public access defibrillators can be used by anyone. When you switch the device on, it will provide clear instructions telling you what you need to do.

    It’s really important that everyone can access a defibrillator in an emergency. Find your nearest device before you need it by looking at the British Heart Foundation’s Defibfinder.

Steve Staple Patient

CPR and the use of a defibrillator helped to save Steven’s life

Our patient, Steven Staple, is a great example of how early bystander CPR and the use of a defibrillator can make the difference between life and death.

Read Steve’s story