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New app to alert first aiders if someone is in cardiac arrest nearby

THE Welsh Ambulance Service has partnered with a life-saving app that lets first aiders know when there is a cardiac arrest in their area.

The GoodSAM app uses GPS technology to alert trained first responders registered on the app to a nearby cardiac arrest.

If the responder is available, they can accept the alert via the app and make their way to the patient to begin CPR prior to the arrival of an ambulance.

Responders include NHS workers like doctors, nurses, paramedics and therapists, as well as police and fire staff, first aiders and others who are trained in CPR.

Several thousand responders in Wales are already signed up to the app, 800 Welsh Ambulance Service staff and volunteers – but now the Trust is inviting more.

Carl Powell, Clinical Support Lead at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every second counts, so the sooner that effective CPR is started, the better.

“In a cardiac arrest situation, we will send an ambulance as quickly as possible on lights and sirens, but if there’s someone closer who can begin the chain of survival, it could mean the difference between life and death.

“Often it’s the first few minutes that determine a patient’s outcome, which is why the GoodSAM app is a brilliant resource.

“Early CPR is crucial, which is why we would encourage everyone is who CPR-trained across Wales to consider registering on the app.”

The Welsh Ambulance responds to over 6,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Wales every year, but for every minute without CPR, a person’s chances of survival drop by 10%.

The Welsh Ambulance Service first began using the GoodSAM app in 2018, and within two days, it has saved the life of Phil Nunnerley who went into cardiac arrest at a Wales vs Scotland game at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

Use of the app was paused during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the partnership with GoodSAM has since been relaunched to allow more responders to come forward.

Mark Wilson OBE, Co-Founder and Director of GoodSAM, said: “If your job requires CPR training or you are a first aider, then we encourage you to sign up.

“If we can get as many people involved, there could be a GoodSAM responder on every street.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Professor Chris Jones, added: “The GoodSAM initiative is a huge step forward for Wales to ensure that anyone in the vicinity with the skills to save a life will be notified and can help.

“We are doing lots of work to increase people’s confidence to intervene in a cardiac arrest emergency which includes highlighting ‘Help is closer than you think’, the importance of calling 999 immediately, support provided by the call handler to do CPR and how to locate a defibrillator until an ambulance arrives.

“Early intervention is vital as every second counts.”

When someone has a cardiac arrest, they collapse and become unresponsive.

They either stop breathing entirely, or they may take gasping or infrequent breaths for a few minutes, which can be misinterpreted as snoring.

If you see someone having a cardiac arrest, phone 999 immediately and start CPR.

In addition, a defibrillator will deliver a controlled electric shock to try and get the heart beating normally again.

Ambulance call handlers will tell you where your nearest defibrillator is.

Watch this video from the Resuscitation Council UK about how to perform CPR.

It is important that new and existing defibrillators are registered on The Circuit in order that 999 call handlers can quickly and easily alert callers to their location if needed.

The Welsh Ambulance Service continues to work in partnership with Welsh Government and third sector partners to strive to deliver the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Plan in Wales.