An ambitious campaign was launched which aims to save 1000 lives in five years.
The goal of the national drive, launched last week, is to have a breathtaking half a million people trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
With more people knowing basic techniques, it is hoped there will be a higher survival rate for out of hospital cardiac arrests.
If an emergency situation occurs, a person only has a shocking eight per cent chance or surviving. However, if the scheme is successful it is claimed the figure could rise to 25 per cent.
Save a Life Scotland is behind the new strategy which launched on European Restart a Heart Day, last Friday, October 16.
At the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, the campaign was kicked off by Minister of Public Health, Maureen Watt, and the public was invited to learn the basic skills of CPR; when to use it and how to do so.
People also heard stories from survivors, explaining how CPR saved their life.
Ms Watt said: “When a person goes into cardiac arrest it means their heart stops completely. The only chance of saving their life is to restart the heart as soon as possible as the chance of a medical professional being close at hand is slim.
“That is why it is so important that members of the public know how to do CPR and are confident enough to try it.”
Across the country, the public were given the opportunity to learn their life-saving skills at various emergency services and I was invited to Forth Valley Royal Hospital to test my technique.
At reception I was greeted by the trio of employees who were lending their time and knowledge to willing volunteers.
Medical student, Craig Maclean, resuscitation officer Tracy McAteer and Macmillan care worker Wilma Harely were on hand to school me in CPR.
Tracy explained to me the first steps when dealing with an emergency as I was completely clueless as to what to do.
She said: “First thing is to phone the emergency services, that is vital. Next, listen for breathing. If they are or you can see their chest move up and down, then turn them onto their side and place the person in the recovery position.
“If they are not breathing then CPR should be administered right away.”
At this point Tracy pointed to the dummy in front of me and showed me how to perform CPR in the correct way.
Placing one hand flat on the chest of the dummy and placing my other hand on top, I pressed down hard, doing roughly two compressions per second.
After half a minute of saving the dummy’s life I started to feel the strain and Tracy pointed out the importance of having someone to assist you in these situations.
“People are unaware of how tiring it can be giving CPR. It is always helpful if someone else is there to take over if you start to feel tired. If the pressure from the compressions drop then the CPR is not as effective, giving the victim less chance of survival.”
A worry I had was if I pressed down too hard on the victim and ended up hurting them as a result. Tracy explained this common worry should be the last thing on your mind.
“It is understandable to worry about hurting someone while giving CPR, however, if you don’t press down hard enough then what you are doing is pointless. So a broken rib is much better than not being resuscitated.
“Especially with children, many people are worried about being too rough, however, it can be the difference in saving their life.”
Next I was shown how and when to use a defibrillator. There has been a big push by the government to have more of the life saving devices available in towns as using one greatly increases the chance of survival.
Tracy instructed me on what to do if I was ever in that situation.
“Defibrillators are simple to use. Once the pads are placed to the left and right of the heart, the machine decides if a shock needs to be given. Most of the time it will give you the green light, however, if not, then continue with CPR.
“If a shock is vital then make sure no one is touching the body and press the button to deliver the pulse.”
Having completed this simple yet effective training I feel much more confident and urge people to learn the basic techniques that could save a life.
Andy Kerr, a member of the public who completed his training while I was there said: “This information is vital. Before I would not have known what to do in an emergency situation. But now I feel like I could offer to help if someone needed it.
“I hope this returns next year to teach more people and hopefully save more lives.”
Anyone interested in training can arrange some at www.firstaid.org.uk/first-aid-at-home for as little as £40 or for any more information visit savealife.scot for more details.