Firefighters are visiting Wigan classrooms this week to teach potentially life-saving techniques to young people as part of the service’s first ever Healthy Heart Week.
Representatives of fire crews, support staff and volunteers have been taking CPR kits - provided by the British Heart Foundation - into schools and during the sessions they will teach students how to perform chest compressions and give rescue breaths to help keep the heart’s blood pumping.
By the end of the week it is hoped that around 3,000 young people will be trained lifesavers and know how to help someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest.
It is the first time Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has held Healthy Heart Week - the aim of which is to train thousands of young people in basic life support skills and raise awareness of the importance of learning CPR.
It has become a standard requirement for fire crews to be able to perform such medical emergencies as they are sometimes on the scene before paramedics and every second can count.
Last week the Wigan Evening Post revealed that the borough’s crews had attended more than 250 incidents when CPR may have been needed since these extra responsibilities were adopted.
County Fire Officer Peter O’Reilly said: “Building on the success of last October’s European Restart a Heart Day, the aim is to create a nation of lifesavers and improve survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrests.
“There are more than 30,000 every year in the UK and less than one in 10 survive.
“GMFRS crews have been responding to cardiac arrest calls alongside colleagues at North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) since September 2015 and the initiative has proved to be a great success with many more people across Greater Manchester being given the best possible chance of survival.
“Now we want to build on that success by using the skills of our trained staff to provide free training sessions to others and spread the message about how important it is to know basic life support techniques including CPR and the use of defibrillators - ultimately our vision is to ensure that no child leaves school without knowing how to save a life.”