A TEAM of Knutsford volunteers has welcomed a national initiative to increase awareness of cardiac arrests, after research revealed that almost two-thirds of us wouldn’t know what to do if faced with one.

Knutsford Community First Responders Trust has been educating the town and surrounding villages since 2003 with its monthly Heartstart course, and is now encouraging those who haven’t taken part to join them.

The trust has also provided dozens of publicly-available defibrillators, and works in partnership with the emergency services to help save lives on call-outs.

St John’s Ambulance has this week launched its CARE for a Heart campaign, offering tips on how to give the 30,000 of us who suffer cardiac arrests in the UK each year the best chance of survival.

Backing the campaign, Adrian Rees of KCFRT said: “We obviously are delighted at any and all publicity to increase people’s awareness of the increasing number of cardiac arrests in the UK, and what to do if faced with having to respond to someone who has had one.

“It’s exactly what KCFRT have been teaching residents of Knutsford and surrounding communities at our BHF-accredited Heartstart courses free of charge since 2003. To date, more than 3,000 have participated and been awarded certificates.

“We actually train attendees to remember the slogan: D.R.S.A.B.C. when you find an unconscious casualty – check for Danger, check for Response, Shout for help, open the Airways, check for Breathing, start CPR.

“We also teach people how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator) and ensure they all know where the 27 AEDs that KCFRT have now installed in and around Knutsford are.

“You are never more than two minutes’ walk from an AED in Knutsford.”

Research from St John’s Ambulance shows that 70 per cent of the 30,000 people who suffer a cardiac arrest in the UK each year could survive if treated with a defibrillator inside the first five minutes – but more than half of us don’t know where to find them.

The trust regularly hands out lists of where the nearest AEDs are – check heartstartknutsford.co.uk or call Adrian on 01565 631324 for the latest list and more information on the course.

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.”