Hundreds of lives could be saved across Lincolnshire if every secondary school in the county signs up to a pioneering project, a key lifesaving organisation believes.
The Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Service (LIVES) wants to train every Year 10 and 11 pupil to perform CPR (heart massage).
The volunteer organisation provides a vital role in support of the East Midlands Ambulance Service.
Around 16 Secondary Schools across the county have already joined the scheme.
However, LIVES spokesman Steve Hyde wants to roll the programme out across the entire county.
He points out CPR training was established in schools in Sweden, Norway and Denmark 28 years ago.
As a result, a person in Scandinavia has a more than 40 per cent chance of surviving a cardiac arrest. In Britain, it is five per cent.
Mr Hyde believes there is no reason why Lincolnshire schools cannot set an inspired lead in driving that figure up.
He explains: “Our first responders aim to get to a patient who dials 999 within six minutes. Every responder on duty carries a defibrillator and is highly trained in delivering CPR and rescue breath to a cardiac arrest victim.
“That is the core of LIVES. That is what we want to do.
“One of our problems, being a large county, is that if someone collapses and stops breathing, they start to die at a rate of ten per cent a minute.
“Their brain is being starved of oxygen. You’ve got about 10 to 12 minutes.
“The only piece of equipment that will save a cardiac arrest victim is a defibrillator.
“CPR, rescue breath, drugs - they will not save your life but they will help. If that person is left at the side of the road, or wherever, if someone delivers CPR immediately they have stopped breathing, what they are doing is pumping the patients’ blood around the body.
“The blood retains oxygen for about five minutes so by delivering CPR, you extend the time a patient has before a defibrillator has to be applied.”
Mr Hyde sites the example of footballer Patrice Muamba who collapsed on the pitch while playing for Bolton Wanderers against Spurs at White Hart Lane in March 2012.
His heart ‘stopped’ for 78 minutes but he was kept alive by a combination of CPR, rescue breath (mouth-to-mouth) and a defibrillator.
Mr Hyde adds: “If we can get more schools on board, just think of how many people would be able to perform CPR. How many more people would survive.
“Those 15 and 16-year-olds would have those skills for the rest of their lives. They could even go on to other training. They could become responders.”
The training involves a one hour course, once a year. It can even be incorporated into part of the curriculum.
Mr Hyde says: “We teach children not only how to do CPR but why they should do it and what happens to the patient.
“When I go into a class of 30 students and ask who would approach a cardiac arrest victim, four or five say they volunteer to help. They have probably been trained by the Scouts or Guides.
“At the end of the hour, I ask the same question and it is 99 per cent who say they would help.
“Young people can help. They can make a difference. We have instances where young people we have trained have saved lives.
“We know it works. That’s why we want every single school involved in this,” he added.