Cardiac ignorance is costing lives

Date published: 04 December 2017

Up to seven out of 10 people who suffer a cardiac arrest could survive if they are treated with a defibrillator inside the first five minutes – but more than half of people in the North West (52%) have no idea where their nearest life-saving equipment is, according to new research by St John Ambulance.

The shocking statistic is revealed as the first aid charity warns that despite more than 30,000 people experiencing cardiac arrests every year in the UK we are lagging way behind countries all over the world when it comes to knowing how to treat them.

The new survey also highlights that 61% of people in the North West would not know what to do if faced with a cardiac arrest; and while 82% know what a defibrillator does, 73% of people would not feel confident using one, plus an astonishing 62% wrongly believe it could cause harm to a patient.

With 80% of out of hospital cardiac arrests occurring at home, the first aid charity is today announcing the launch of its C.A.R.E for a Heart campaign – four steps to learn in advance, to give you and your loved ones the best chance of survival.

  • C Closest defibrillator - Find your closest defibrillator
  • A Arrest? - Be ready to spot the signs of cardiac arrest
  • R Resuscitate - Know how to resuscitate using CPR
  • E Early defibrillation - Early defibrillation gives the best chance of survival

Simon Dunn, Regional Director at St John Ambulance, said: “Our research shows that while most people have some awareness of defibrillators, we still have a long way to go in educating people about what they need to do in a cardiac emergency,’

“Home is where the heart is; it is also where the majority of cardiac arrests happen, outside of hospital, which means it is more likely to be our friends, family – or even ourselves – who need first aid in this life or death moment.

“None of us want to find ourselves in a situation where we could not save a loved one’s life, any more than we would want them to stand by helpless if we suffered a cardiac arrest.’

“That is why we are urging everybody to learn the four simple steps of C.A.R.E today; so that if the worst happens tomorrow, we can all act quickly and confidently, especially when every second counts.”

St John Ambulance has made simple, fun, and shareable videos, to help you learn the C.A.R.E steps, visit

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