Saving lives with CPR and defibrillators

Students from Lagan College learning CPR

Since the 1960s we've been at the forefront of ensuring millions of people know CPR and have access to defibrillators where they are needed most, saving thousands of lives as a result. 

1960s–80s: Defibrillators begin to be distributed in ambulances

We were the first organisation to fund defibrillators in frontline ambulances, and equipped most of the fleet before government funding was announced in the late 80s. Since this pioneering endeavour, we’ve part-funded over 14,000 defibrillators. 

Early 90s: The Resuscitation Council is established

We supported the set-up of the Resuscitation Council that ensures resuscitation is conducted to the highest standards and is supported by guidelines and research. We funded Resuscitation Officer posts in urgent care settings that later became established across the NHS. 

1995–96: CPR learning initiative is launched

We launched the Heartstart initiative to teach emergency life support skills, training millions of people in CPR and saving hundreds of lives. We were subsequently the first voluntary organisation to fund defibrillators in busy, public places. This has generated a huge impact in the sector around the importance of learning CPR and having public access to defibrillators. 

2011: Hands-only CPR

Our memorable advert, starring Vinnie Jones, led to at least 40 lives being saved. 

2014: Nation of Lifesavers is launched

Across the UK, we successfully influenced government strategies for tackling heart disease, promoting actions to improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates.To improve survival rates further we launched our Nation of Lifesavers programme, in October 2014, with the aim of teaching the nation CPR.

Our CPR kits, which are free to secondary schools and community groups, aim to teach vital life saving skills to members of the public across the UK. As of March 2017, we have trained approximately 1.7 million people through this programme, increasing chances of survival for thousands of people. 

Today: There are still too many avoidable deaths

Despite the great progress achieved over the last half-century, less than one in ten people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK. In countries where CPR is taught in all schools, survival rates are up to three times as high.  

Learn CPR