A leading North East heart charity is using the hit dance tune Baby Shark to teach school children how to save a life.
Since its launch in 2016, Red Sky Foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help towards funding hospital machines and placed numerous defibrillators in towns and city centres across the region.
Now it is holding sessions in schools to demonstrate to children the basics of life-saving – and how following the rhythm of the catchy tune when performing chest compressions can dramatically improve a patient’s recovery rate.
The sessions, specially designed to be fun and appropriate for those aged from four to 11, cover the three ‘golden’ rules to follow when someone is unconscious and not breathing – call 999, administer CPR and use a defibrillator if one is available.
The effectiveness of early CPR and defibrillators was brought to public attention when Danish Striker Christian Eriksen collapsed during a European Championship game against Finland and was treated rapidly while still on the pitch.
It was a scene witnessed by many children watching the game not just in the North East but across the world.
The machines can literally make the difference between life and death in the vital moments after someone suffers a cardiac arrest, but Red Sky Foundation founder Sergio Petrucci said: “It’s highly unlikely that a young child will ever have to use a defibrillator in a real-life situation. This is more about teaching them basic skills at a young age and giving them confidence to know CPR.
“There’s a myth that you can hurt someone by using a defibrillator but you can’t. What you can do is take their chance of survival from just seven per cent to 70 per cent.
“More than anything though the aim is to make the sessions sufficiently engaging that the children go back and tell their parents and that they then get the message that life-saving skills are easy to learn and that they work.”
One of the first schools to invite the Red Sky charity to talk to its pupils was St Mary’s RC Primary School, Sunderland, which has a wall-mounted public access Red Sky Foundation defibrillator.
Head Teacher, Martin Clephane, said: “The initiative from Red Sky Foundation to demonstrate to our children and staff on how to use the defib as well as educating them with CPR techniques as part of our first aid awareness day was not only fun but potentially life-saving, too – and our new device is a great addition to help save the life of anyone needing it in our local community.”
Parent Andrea Walls-Liddle said: “I think sessions such as this are really important and The Red Sky Foundation were great at demonstrating practical skills to children in such an energising and engaging way.
“My son was eager to tell me what he’d learned as soon as I picked him up from school.”
According to the Red Sky Foundation, around 5,000 people die in the North East from sudden cardiac arrest each year with only one in 10 people surviving an arrest out of hospital, and Sergio is urging schools and local communities across the region to get in touch to find out more about the sessions the charity is offering.
To find out more visit www.redskyfoundation.com