HUNDREDS of youngsters have been equipped with the skills to save lives.
Scores of local schoolchildren and members of the wider public were taught CPR yesterday.
The tuition came as part of the European Restart a Heart Day – an initiative created to raise awareness of what to do if someone has collapsed, is not breathing or is potentially in cardiac arrest.
To mark the day, South Central Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) joined forces with the Resuscitation Council, to hold interactive and educational workshops across the area.
In an open event at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, crowds of children from Northern Parade Junior School in Hilsea united to learn and administer CPR at 100-120bpm.
To stay in-time, the youngsters acted along to specifically-written children’s songs – which they performed in the hospital atrium with charity HeartBeatz UK.
Among those involved was eight-year-old Year 4 pupil Rishi Basra.
He said: ‘I now feel like I could help someone if they collapsed.’
Faith McCracken, nine, added: ‘The CPR was easier than I thought – but you have to push quite far.’
The event also saw the launch of Portsmouth-based HeartBeatz UK as a registered charity.
Founder and trustee, Clare Morden, said: ‘I sit as chair of the trainee committee for the European Resuscitation Council and I’ve seen how many countries are teaching CPR to children at a young age. So we decided to teach this to schoolchildren in KS2, using music – a brilliant way of learning new skills.’
Elsewhere, children enjoyed activities at a host of schools and colleges in Portsmouth, Gosport, Fareham, Havant and Waterlooville.
At Mayfield School in Copnor, more than 200 Year 8 pupils were taken off their regular timetables for five fun-packed sessions with first responders and firefighters.
Science teacher Gordon Jackson said: ‘It was a successful day. These are life-saving skills which everybody should go and learn.’
St Edmund’s Catholic School pupils were also trained throughout the day.
Pupil Sophie Fox, who is in Year 8, said: ‘It was really inspiring.’
Statistics show more than 30,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside of hospital in the UK each year.
However, it is believed survival rates could double if CPR is started before an ambulance arrives.