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The revolutionary way to save lives

27 September 2013

The revolutionary way to save lives

Smile-on News looks at new CPR app LIFESAVER

The Resuscitation Council (UK), the medical charity that produces the official UK guidelines for CPR, has launched an interactive app as a way to learn CPR in the 21st century. Together with production company UNIT9, the Resuscitation Council has created LIFESAVER, a free app that is available on your computer, smartphone or tablet.

An estimated 60,000 people each year in the UK have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and less than 10 per cent of these people survive; this means that it’s more likely that the person suffering the arrest will be known to the rescuer. The Resuscitation Council built this app as an attempt to let people learn CPR easily, have the confidence to do it, and ultimately, save lives. Whilst many CPR courses exist, this app is the first of its kind. With almost everyone having access to a computer, smartphone or tablet and wanting to receive information in a quick condensed manner, this is the first effective way of learning CPR that is easily available to everyone.

LIFESAVER is an interactive short film that is played like a game. The user is put into the situation and asked questions about what you would do each step of the way; if you pick the wrong answer, you’re told why it’s wrong and what should be done instead. Playing the game is quite pressured - you’re given a time limit to answer the questions so have to react quickly, just as you would if you were in a real-life situation. The interactivity really puts you in the situation and makes you feel as if you are experiencing it – a great way of learning as you are actually doing it.

LIFESAVER is a step-by-step guide in what to do when someone is choking or having a cardiac arrest. The correct way of hand positioning is shown, and the user is given the opportunity to practice performing the action. On the versions for phone and tablet, you move the device up and down, two times a second. On a computer, this is done by pressing keys on the keyboard - you will be told if you’re doing it too quickly, slowly, or if you’re doing it at the right speed. When someone’s choking, you move your device down sharply to hit the person on the back.

Being actively involved in the game provides a much more vivid experience than practising on a dummy like traditional CPR classes.

There are three different scenarios to go through, giving you advice in what to learn in each situation. There is also the opportunity to hear expert advice on CPR and real-life accounts of cardiac arrest.

Viv Cummins, for example, talks about her experience when her husband had a cardiac arrest. Viv phoned the ambulance and the woman on the other end spoke her through what to do. She’d done a CPR course a few months earlier and says it all came back to her – her panic went and she got into practical mode.

“I already knew it was too late at this point but I had to do what I could and got on with what I’d been trained to do. It was nothing like carrying it out on the mannequin in the training session”, she says.

Viv knows that she had done everything she possibly could to try and save him. Her husband dying wasn’t as a result of her not knowing what to do, and she says this has given her great comfort since his death.

Dr Jasmeet Soar, Vice Chairman of the Resuscitation Council (UK), comments on the Council’s aims for LIFESAVER: “LIFESAVER provides a great opportunity to guide the public through the simple but vital steps of performing CPR to encourage them to step-in if they witness someone having a cardiac arrest and, potentially, help save a life. The interactive video format ofLIFESAVER is a game changer for how people learn CPR. The vivid reality of the scenarios is compelling and will encourage more people to learn CPR, and help save lives.

“It has been tremendous for the Resuscitation Council to work with UNIT9 to arrive at an Application that is so effective. We are hopeful that others will see the benefit in promoting LIFESAVER within their own organisations and networks to encourage people to perform CPR.

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “We need all the help we can get in the battle to improve cardiac arrest survival rates in the UK and LIFESAVER will help give people the confidence to step in and help in a medical emergency.

“Smartphones are now being transformed into vital training aids and developments in technology are providing unique and effective ways to give someone the skills to save a life.”

LIFESAVER is available from both the Android and Apple app stores, and can be played online at

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