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University and football club team up to teach lifesaving

The University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Football Club are planning to educate the city in cardiac arrest first response.

Around 22,000 people in Portsmouth live with heart and circulatory disease, causing 40 deaths a month. The chances of surviving a cardiac arrest out of hospital in the south-east of England is just one in 12.

The initiative centres around Portsmouth FC’s home match against MK Dons on Saturday 17 December, and will promote free online training via the British Heart Foundation’s RevivR tool.

The training teaches lifesaving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills and how to use a defibrillator in just 15 minutes. It’s easy to use, can be done at home with a cushion and a mobile phone or tablet to hand and gives people the skills to be ready should that day come when they’re required.

Ahead of the match, members of the Portsmouth squad and manager Danny Cowley were trained on RevivR by the University, learning the essential skills required if a teammate or loved one required support.

On the match day, there will be a CPR training pop-up in the Fanzone, led by the University’s paramedic science course lead, offering fans a chance to give CPR skills a try, and the Portsmouth squad will wear campaign t-shirts in the warm up. There will also be a dedicated spot in the programme with a QR code to learn more about RevivR; video content on the big screen showcasing PFC players undertaking the training; and all posters in Fratton Park will be branded with campaign information.

During the game, PFC manager Danny Cowley and Assistant Manager Nicky Cowley will wear heart monitors to show the impact football has on a manager’s heart.

Rob Isherwood, Senior Teaching Fellow and course lead for BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science at the University of Portsmouth, said:

“We know that currently in the south coast of England, the cardiac arrest survival rate is one in 12. We want to change that. We know the chances of us saving people is greatly increased if somebody has started the process of CPR before we get there, rather than waiting for us to arrive.

“I’m from Portsmouth, I’m a Pompey boy and I want my city to be the city to lead the world at out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates. We have one of the highest number of defibrillators per population of any city in the country so that groundwork has been done. But what we have not got is the training and the confidence of people to use those defibrillators.

“It’s about giving people the confidence to get involved, to call for help early and start CPR as that’s what can make the difference between life and death.”

Find out more about CPR.