October 2019

Restart a Heart Day 2019: Year 7 students learn life-saving skills

On Wednesday 16th October, Withernsea High School became one of 165 secondary schools across Yorkshire to take part in the sixth annual Restart a Heart Day – an event that aims to improve the UK’s cardiac arrest survival rate through the teaching of life-saving skills.

First launched by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service in 2013, the initiative spread nationally to all UK ambulance services in 2014 and then internationally as ‘World Restart a Heart’ in 2018.

This year, over 170 Year 7 students at Withernsea High School took part in training sessions which ran throughout the day. These sessions not only taught valuable skills, they also helped to increase awareness in an effort to improve the current 1-in-10 survival rate amongst the 30,000 people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK each year.

The training was delivered by five members of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) including Rob Woodruff – a Withernsea-based paramedic who has been with the YAS for five years. Mr Woodruff commented: ‘Restart a heart day is of massive importance because it equips young people with vital life-saving skills. I’m proud that the Yorkshire Ambulance Service have continually led the way with this initiative, resulting in over 40,000 people taking part in schools across the county this year.

While everyone is capable of learning CPR, young people are at an advantage as knowledge and muscle memory tend to stick more for school-age participants. I believe that all students should be taught these skills in the curriculum and I’m pleased to hear that the Government intend to increase the prominence of first aid teaching in schools from next year.

Statistics show that early CPR training in other countries has a massive impact on the survival rate of those suffering cardiac arrests out of hospital. In Norway, 1 in 4 people survive compared with the UK’s 1 in 10 survival rate. Our involvement in Restart a Heart day is therefore a rewarding experience, knowing that in time we can help improve our statistics and actively save more lives.’

Overseeing the session in school was Careers Leader and Key Stage 5 Coordinator Viki Foster. Mrs Foster added: ‘CPR is a vital life-saving skill that we think is essential for all students to learn. Following the success of this year’s session, and ahead of the planned additions to the curriculum in 2020, we plan on this becoming an annual opportunity for our students.

This will mean that in just five years’ time, all students at Withernsea High School will have been given an opportunity to learn these important skills. 

It has been a pleasure to work with members of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service and we thank them for giving up their time to work with our students.’


ABOVE: (left to right) Rob Woodruff, Lucy Daniels, Vicky Hewland, Craig Meffen and Lizzie Fention from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service with Careers Leader and Key Stage 5 Coordinator Viki Foster. Pictured at the front are Year 7 students Elizabeth Tinker and Joel Williams.


ABOVE: Sessions took place in the school hall throughout the day for approximately 30 students at a time.


ABOVE: Lucy Daniels from the YAS with Year 7 students.


ABOVE: Vicky Hewland from the YAS with Year 7 students.


ABOVE: Rob Woodruff and Lucy Daniels from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service demonstrate mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.