AN MS has said everyone in Wales should learn how to give CPR to increase the chance of survival of a person suffering a cardiac arrest.

Janet Finch-Saunders, MS for Aberconwy, is backing a campaign by the Awyr Las ‘Keep the Beats’ initiative which encourages residents to practice CPR in the safety of their own home, by using common household items such as balls, cushions and teddy bears.

CPR is an emergency first aid procedure that involves someone pressing up and down on a collapsed person’s chest. A cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating. CPR and the use of a defibrillator often doubles the chance of survival.

Mrs Finch-Saunders said: “Everybody in Wales should learn CPR skills so that they are confident of the steps they need to take when a person has a cardiac arrest. By taking a few minutes to learn some basic CPR skills, you can increase someone’s chance of survival, in what can be a very stressful situation.

Early data suggests that, in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board region, 75 per cent of people who have a cardiac arrest do not receive CPR before medical help arrives. Every year in Wales, over 6,000 people will have a sudden cardiac arrest in the community and approximately 80 per cent of those will happen in the home.

It is important to understand the steps involved in CPR, often called the Chain of Survival. The ‘Chain of Survival’ describes the crucial elements that can save a life when someone has a cardiac arrest in the community.

Mrs Finch-Saunders added: “This Awyr Las campaign, which promotes using everyday household items to train and update our CPR skills, ensures that we have a community of trained and confident lifesavers. In some of Aberconwy’s most rural settings, this will save lives, including our nearest and dearest.

“Every second counts when someone is having a cardiac arrest. By regularly practicing our CPR method with a bear or ball will mean that we will all have the confidence to step in and assist those in need. After all, in this type of stressful situation, any CPR is better than no CPR.”