Emergency Life Support

ELS training young peopleEmergency Life Support (ELS) skills are the set of actions needed to help keep someone alive in an emergency situation before professional help arrives. 

ELS skills can be performed without any special medical training and we believe children should be taught these vital skills at school.

ELS includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), dealing with choking, serious bleeding, how to put someone in the recovery position and helping someone who may be having a heart attack.

Around 60,000 people each year in the UK have cardiac arrests outside of hospital, and nearly half are witnessed by members of the public and treated by the emergency medical services. Between 2 and 12 per cent of these people currently survive to be discharged from hospital, depending on where in the UK they have a cardiac arrest.

CPR given immediately following a cardiac arrest within a community setting, buys time before using an Automated External Defibrillator, and so can triple the chance of survival.

ELS in schools

Children are often present at emergencies, but too few are currently trained in ELS. We therefore believe that all children should learn these vital life-saving skills at secondary school, empowering them to play a vital life-saving role in their communities.

At present, there is no requirement for schools in the UK to train children in ELS. Alongside the Resuscitation Council UK, we are calling for ELS to become a mandatory part of secondary education.

Polling that we have commissioned shows significant public support for ELS – 70 per cent of parents, 78 per cent of children aged 11-15 years, and 86 per cent of teachers would like to see ELS taught as part of the curriculum.

For more information please read our policy statement or email policy@bhf.org.uk