When lifesaving charity Magpas Air Ambulance decided to bring a higher level of emergency care to Bedfordshire by basing a rapid response emergency medical team in Luton, the charity also wanted to identify further opportunities to support the local community.

So Magpas Air Ambulance teamed up with the Bedfordshire Football Association to teach the charity’s Community CPR course to football teams across central Bedfordshire and Bedfordshire Borough.

Over the past four months, Nicola Cooper, Magpas Air Ambulance’s Training and Engagement Officer, has run two Community CPR sessions a week on average to different Bedfordshire FA football teams; teaching youth, adult and even walking football teams the lifesaving skills of CPR and how to use a defibrillator.

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.

That’s why Magpas Air Ambulance, the charity that saves lives in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and across the East of England 24/7, offers these free Community CPR sessions to give the public the confidence to act fast and help to give someone the best chance in the event of a cardiac arrest.

In the last quarter of 2022, Magpas Air Ambulance has already taught over 800 football team members within the Bedfordshire FA, and has another eight teams booked in for upcoming sessions, which will bring the total to over 1,000 people taught.

Nicola Cooper explains, “We’ve now trained a wide range of ages and cultures and it has been a pleasure to equip every one of them with the skills they need to save a life. The interest from the young people in Bedfordshire has been particularly inspiring, as they really want to learn the skill having seen how cardiac arrest has affected well-known footballers in recent years.

“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 football community, who clearly understand its importance.”

Bedfordshire Football Association Football Development Officer Marc Di Carlo stated, ‘‘Bedfordshire FA has been really impressed with how accommodating and flexible Magpas Air Ambulance has been in order to provide a number of our member clubs the benefit from the invaluable face-to-face training they deliver. The vital lifesaving skills learned in the training, combined with how accessible it is for the volunteer workforce to attend, is a testament to Magpas Air Ambulance, and is reflected in the positive feedback from our clubs. We are really pleased that Magpas Air Ambulance offered the training to our football clubs and we would like to thank them not only for this, but for the fantastic work they carry out across the wider community every day.’’

Cardiac arrests are one of the most common incidents that Magpas Air Ambulance attends. The charity’s doctors and critical care paramedics are specially trained to deliver care usually only available in hospital, at the scene of a patient’s cardiac arrest, but they rely on members of the community to provide effective CPR in the minutes following that cardiac arrest for their medical expertise to make the most difference.

Be prepared and confident to act in an emergency. Learn these vital skills with Magpas Air Ambulance and you can help save lives in your community too. Email heartsmatter@magpas.org.uk to enquire about a training session for your community group, school or business.