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Pheniks Life Saving Army.

What is it?

The Pheniks Life Saving Army is a one-day CPR pop up event that visits primary schools, and we teach reception all the way through to year six, in CPR. We teach the importance of knowing CPR, the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest, but also an introduction to defib. I think it's really important and the fact that when I go in, on most occasions, I bring friends and volunteers from the emergency services with me, on their days off may I add, is testament to how important it is. Another testament to how important it is, is the fact that by summer this year, now bearing in mind that we started in January, is that we’d have trained over 8,500 kids before the summer holidays, and that number is going to continue to grow the more schools come in. And it's really, really good, it's a great day, Reception to year 4 bring in teddies, and the excitement that creates and the build up to the event is really, really good. And to be honest, I underestimated the impact that was going to have just by them bringing the teddies in. One of the reasons to do that is it gets them to do CPR on their teddy, but also, the teddy's go home with them so they can demonstrate to their mums or dads or aunties or uncles or anyone who will listen to them really, what they've learned in school that day and they are using the same teddy that they were trained on and that helps me raise the awareness and the importance of CPR. Years 5 and 6 get to use actual CPR mannequins, they go a little bit more in depth and they also learn recovery possession and an introduction to Defibs as well. A lot of the schools that I go to don't own a defibrillator, which I think is actually a little bit frightening. Some of the schools that have been to have around 750 kids in the school, and they don't own a defibrillator. So therefore, at drop off and pickup time there is potentially 1500 people cutting about that school - one, they don't have a defib for the school and two, they don’t know where the closest one is, which is part of the homework that I give the kids as well. And so not only do the schools get the one-day event, the children go home with homework as well and to be honest, the teachers and the staff at the schools are pretty good at making sure this homework gets done.


The first bit is to tell everybody what they've learned, to help me. The second is to learn a postcode and the number of kids that don't know what a postcode as never mind what their own is, it's pretty high. The house number and street name is usually enough but I think with guidance from the emergency services, the postcode is really important because it speeds things up. The second piece of homework is something that I would never have thought of and it was brought to my attention by a police officer and firefighter in regards to gaining access to people houses. Now, as you know, through lockdown and COVID, some of the some of the firefighters and police will have been sent to sudden cardiac arrests or suspected sudden cardiac arrests and the amount of times they've got to the house and there has been a small child on the other side that doesn't know a) he doesn't know how to open the door b) doesn't know where the keys are, or c) doesn't know how to open a ground floor window and it's wasting time. Time is really important, along with knowing where the closest defib is. Now just as a reminder for most of you, for every minute that passes after sudden cardiac arrest, where CPR is not being administered or there is no defibrillator, your life expectancy diminishes by 10%. So that 10 minutes will soon get eaten up first of all, waiting for somebody to actually do CPR, secondly, for someone to figure how to open a door or window and thirdly, someone to go and get the defib. So, being quick at these three simple steps is going to help save lives.

Strong enough?

Now people will say: ‘oh, primary school kids aren't strong enough to do CPR’, so what! You know, they may not be able to achieve the five to six centimetres or three inches for the older ones amongst us of chest compressions, but it doesn't matter. If they have someone with them that that is strong enough and they can show them, you know they can even go home showing people what they've learned and maybe possibly guilt people into actually learning something about it. But secondly, the amount of people that have been in touch saying ‘my son or daughter has come home, and they’ve showed me this, and I've actually gone on a refresher, or I have read up again and reminded myself and revised myself on stuff that I learnt maybe two years, three years previously, that's the point. And eventually, one day that that that kid that can't achieve the full compression at the minute, you know, will! They're going to grow up and get bigger and stronger, and they're going to be able to do it.


Something that I do find pretty interesting to be honest, is the amount of grown adults that have questions in regards to CPR and one of the ones that's a little bit frightening to me was the fear of actually doing CPR in case you hurt somebody, or you break ribs and stuff. Now to be honest, that person that your doing CPR on is dead, and you can’t get any worse than dead. So, you smash them ribs up and you try your best to get the CPR done. You don't always break ribs, some people say ‘I was taught that if I'm not breaking ribs then I'm not doing it right! Well, you know, each to their own but that’s not the message I try and portray. There's no such thing as bad CPR. As long as you're doing something and trying to compress that heart and get that blood moving, then you're doing something right. So just try your best is the message really.

How does the pop up event work?

So how does it work? I turn up for one full day at a primary school: Reception to year 4 get 30 minutes, year 5 + 6 get 45 minutes to an hour because they go into a bit more depth and I also do recovery position and spend more time on the defibrillator with them. And it works really well. We motor through the whole school in a day and then disappear. Again, as I said, I don’t always do it on my own and so I want to say thank you to all the boys and girls in the Emergency Services that have actually come in and helped me. If you are a member of the emergency services and you manage to see this video and you want to help me in Bolton or Manchester then please, please, please get in touch, I can never have enough because people shifts lie differently, and they normally come in on their on their days off.

Thank you.

I want to say thank you to all the schools and that have had me in and the schools that I'm going to be visiting over the next few months and onwards because I am going to keep thus going. And finally, I want to say thanks to the kids. First of all, for paying attention and learning what I am there to teach. But also, for going home and doing your homework and showing everybody what you've learned. The number of videos and messages I’ve had saying thank you and that it has prompted them to go and do something, that is huge.

Get in touch.

Remember, get in touch if you're from a school and you want me to come in, get in touch and we'll try and work something out. I give up one day a week to do this at the minute and to be honest, I reckon I could give up three days a week and I would still have a waiting list.

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