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We’ve partnered with the British Heart Foundation to offer CPR and defibrillator training to more than 500 of our field-based staff

By Virgin TV Edit

It’s impossible to predict when or if a customer, colleague or passer-by may suffer a cardiac arrest, which is why we’re investing in life-saving techniques. 500 front-line Virgin Media staff have received life-saving CPR and defibrillator training from the British Heart Foundation, alongside portable defibrillators for each of their company vehicles.


With trained staff working in every corner of the country, the programme is the largest of its kind. That means, at any one time, there are up to 500 Virgin Media staff ready to respond in a crisis via the NHS first responder GoodSAM app, including many areas of the UK without easy access to defibrillators.


In recent years, many public instances of cardiac arrest have highlighted the importance of having easy access to these vital pieces of equipment. And none so much as in the case of footballer Fabrice Muamba. Read our interview with Fabrice here. 


In 2012, Fabrice suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch. His heart stopped beating for 78 minutes. The then 23-year-old was immediately administered CPR, before receiving shocks from a defibrillator. Since then, Fabrice has been an outspoken advocate on issues around defibrillator access. To help spread the word, we’ve joined forces with Fabrice.


Read on to learn vital information from the British Heart Foundation about CPR and defibrillators and how to act if somebody needs your help.


What is CPR?

Supplied by the British Heart Foundation

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It’s a life-saving medical procedure which is given to someone who is in cardiac arrest. It helps to pump blood around the person's body when their heart can’t. CPR is quick and simple to learn. You also don’t need training to use a defibrillator, so anyone can use one.


How to administer CPR 


Could you restart a heart? Whether it’s someone you love or a stranger on the street, learn the 5 simple steps to CPR so you can help a person in cardiac arrest. 


Bearing in mind the current Covid-19 advice, follow these directions:


Step 1: Shake and shout


When you find someone unconscious, gently shake their shoulders and ask loudly ‘are you alright?’ Shout for help if you are alone, but never leave the person.


Step 2: Call 999


If you are alone, call 999 and ask for an ambulance immediately. If you’re with other people, ask one person to call 999 and someone else to find a public access defibrillator (PAD). Do not leave the person to find a defibrillator.


Step 3: Cover mouth and nose with cloth


To reduce the risk of infection from Covid-19, lay a towel or a piece of clothing over their mouth and nose. Don’t put your face close to theirs. Listen and watch their chest for signs of breathing.


Step 4: Give chest compressions


If the person is not breathing or not breathing normally, start CPR:


  • Kneel next to the person.
  • Place the heel of one hand in the centre of their chest. Place your other hand on top of the first. Interlock your fingers.
  • With straight arms, use the heel of your hand to push the breastbone down firmly and smoothly, so that the chest is pressed down between 5-6cm, and release.
  • Do this at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute – that’s around 2 per second.


Step 5: Keep going


Keep going until the paramedics arrive and take over, you become exhausted or the person shows signs of life – such as breathing normally, coughing, opening their eyes or speaking. If the person shows signs of life, put them in the recovery position and continue to monitor their breathing


If you’re feeling tired, and there’s someone nearby to help, instruct them to continue.


Find out more here


British Heart Foundation: What is a defibrillator?

A defibrillator is designed to shock someone’s heart back into normal rhythm during cardiac arrest. You don’t need any training to use one, because each device gives clear instructions on how to use it, and where to place the pads on the casualty.


Once the pads are in place, a defibrillator will then assess the casualty’s heart rhythm and only instruct you to deliver a shock if needed. It’s impossible to deliver a shock accidentally, because the defibrillator will only allow you to shock the casualty if it detects a particular rhythm. 


The defibrillators in our vans aren’t just for our staff or Virgin Media customers, they’re for everyone. Which means if you’re in immediate need of a defibrillator, and you can see one of our vans, our staff are on hand to help. Every van with a defibrillator on board will be clearly marked with a green sticker. 


What’s the difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack?

Supplied by the British Heart Foundation

It’s important to know the difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack. A heart attack happens when there’s a sudden loss of blood flow to a part of the heart muscle. This is often caused by a blockage in one of the coronary arteries. It can cause a discomfort (such as a pain or tightness) in the chest, arm, neck or jaw, and it can make people feel sick, light-headed and short of breath.


When someone is in cardiac arrest, their heart has stopped pumping blood around the body, starving the brain of oxygen, causing them to lose consciousness and stop breathing. Without oxygen circulating around the body, that person will not survive. Which is why CPR is so important, allowing you to manually pump blood and oxygen around the person’s body. 


Both a heart attack and a cardiac arrest are medical emergencies, and you should call 999 as soon as possible.


For more information:

British Heart Foundation: how to save a life

British Heart Foundation: how to do CPR

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