Be prepared to have a go!


Thursday 12th March 2015 – 11.50am – Suzie Wheaton.

Be prepared to have a go…that was the message at West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Community Resuscitation Conference.

Almost 100 delegates from the Trust, stakeholder organisations and charities came together this week to promote one vision; helping communities to save lives!

The conference not only provided the opportunity to celebrate all the lifesaving work carried out by all in the room but to discuss and drive forward joint initiatives to provide everybody with the skills and opportunity to help save a life.

In cardiac arrest* the first few minutes are vital, the quicker basic CPR is carried out and a defibrillator is used, not only improves the chance of a patient’s survival but it can also help to improve the chances of them recovering fully and the time to do so. For every minute a patient is in cardiac arrest, their chance of survival decreases by 10 percent.

West Midlands Ambulance Service figures suggest that more than 100,000 members of the public have now been trained by the Service in basic life support (BLS) since 2012. This has led to 20% more people undertaking BLS on cardiac arrest patients prior to the arrival of an ambulance. At present 38% of people who suffer from a cardiac arrest have a chance of surviving thanks to bystander CPR and defibrillation, but we can do more to promote the benefits of this vital first aid within our communities.

During the event, the audience heard of two real life stories. One of a 14 year old boy who suffered a cardiac arrest and was resuscitated by his friends who had recently been trained by a WMAS paramedic in the British Heart Foundation’s HeartStart course whilst at school. The second story came from a special guest speaker, former footballer Tobi Alabi, who suffered a cardiac arrest at just 19 years of age. Tobi, who had to retire from football now focusses his efforts on educating children through the Heart4more foundation. (

Emma Bogle, Head of Community Response for WMAS said: “The event proved to be extremely successful. The engagement seen from everyone who attended was tremendous and it was a great way to start thinking jointly about how we can all work together to help further improve lifesaving skills and the equipment available within communities, not only within our Region but nationwide.

“A large discussion was held on the day was around building awareness of defibrillator placement. Are you aware of a defibrillator that is in your community that the ambulance service might not know about? If so, please take a few minutes to contact your local community response manager with the details (contact details can be found at the webpage below). If you’re not sure please contact us anyway, we’d rather hear about a defibrillator we already know about than not to know about one at all. This Trust is currently in the process of working towards making this information available to all communities, so watch this space….”

For more information about basic life support, defibrillators and free HeartStart courses available to your local community please visit


The event was sponsored by Cardiac Science, Physio Control and Wel Medical.

*A cardiac arrest often occurs suddenly and without warning. It is triggered by an malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat. Whilst the heart is not beating effectively toxins build up in the body and brain – you have approximately 8-10 minutes before this brain damage become irreversible. Death will occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment.

A Heart attack occurs when a blocked artery prevents blood from reaching the heart. If not reopened quickly, part of the heart begins to die. The longer a person goes without treatment, the greater the damage. More often than not symptoms start slowly and persist for hours, days or weeks before a heart attack. Unlike with sudden cardiac arrest, the heart usually does not stop beating during a heart attack.


Picture 1: WMAS Head of Community Response, Emma Bogle.

Picture 2 & 4: Delegates at the conference

Picture 3: Tobi Alabi

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