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On Tuesday 5th September, Magpas Air Ambulance will be based at the Harpur Shopping Centre in Bedford, teaching the lifesaving skills of CPR and how to use a defibrillator to shoppers and staff.

The training day falls in Air Ambulance Week—the annual awareness week dedicated to showcasing the vital work of air ambulance charities across the UK. Magpas Air Ambulance is a charity which provides lifesaving emergency medical care to patients across the East of England 24/7, but predominantly serves the people of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. As well as operating an air ambulance and rapid response vehicles out of its base in Cambridgeshire, the charity also provides a Bedfordshire-specific service, with a rapid response car manned by a doctor/paramedic team based in Luton two days a week. This Luton service was implemented in 2020 after the area was identified to have a lack of quick access to advanced medical emergency care.

Another way Magpas Air Ambulance has been working to save lives in Bedfordshire communities is through CPR and defibrillator training. In the past year, the charity has worked with the Bedfordshire Football Association to teach Magpas Air Ambulance’s Community CPR course to football teams across central Bedfordshire and Bedfordshire Borough—with Nicola Cooper, Magpas Air Ambulance’s Training and Engagement Officer, teaching over 1,000 children and adults the lifesaving skills of CPR and how to use a defibrillator in just a few months.

In the UK, medical professionals are called to over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year. Currently, the survival rate is just 1 in 10, with only 40% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims receiving bystander CPR. However, bystander CPR can double a person’s chances of survival, and if they are given defibrillation within 3-5 minutes, survival rates can increase to 50-70%. Often, someone’s survival from cardiac arrest depends on those around them.

Continuing in its bid to teach as many people as possible in Bedford and beyond, this Air Ambulance Week (4th – 10th), Magpas Air Ambulance’s Community CPR trainer Nicola is basing herself at the Harpur Shopping Centre in Bedford and providing drop-in sessions for shoppers and staff alike on how to give people the best chance of survival if they ever witness an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Talking about the day Nicola says, “I can’t wait to deliver further training across Bedfordshire, and it’s fantastic to see how well supported the course has been by the community, who clearly understand its importance.”

This comes after the British Heart Foundation revealed that Luton had the lowest rates of defibrillators in the region, with only 16 per 100,000 people, compared to the mean for the East of England of 72 per 100,000 people.

So if you can make it to the Harpur Shopping Centre this Tuesday, learn more about these vital skills and what to do in an emergency, or book a private session for your business, community group or school.