App puts CPR action plan in your hands

4 August 2017

Kids Save Lives appKids Save Lives, a new app that takes users through the steps of basic life support, has been released by the Australian and New Zealand Committee on Resuscitation.

The app reinforces the DRS ABCD action plan rather than being a demonstration or simulation of an emergency. The DRS ABCD is the mainstay of the Australian and New Zealand Resuscitation Council's basic life support guidelines.

"The DRS ABCD is your back-pocket guide to saving lives", says Dr Richard Aickin, Chair of the New Zealand Resuscitation Council. "This app will promote awareness and empower people where they come across someone who is unresponsive and not breathing normally."

Although the app is not a substitute for first aid training, it reinforces that CPR is an easy skill. Aickin says that even untrained rescuers can provide life-saving interventions, such as sending for help, chest compressions, and defibrillation.

The app takes its name from an earlier statement by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation and others. This statement challenged all countries to provide school children aged 12 years and older with two hours of resuscitation training, annually. The Kids Save Lives statement was endorsed by the World Health Organisation in 2015.

Although the app was developed with pre-teens, teachers, parents and whānau in mind, Aickin says that it is suitable for everyone. He encourages first aid providers to share the app with their students.

Aickin says that in recent years the public has become more aware of the importance of CPR as the immediate life-saving intervention for people who have cardiac arrest. The media and internet have helped, employers are prioritising workplace first aid, there are numerous community CPR training programmes, and public access defibrillation is now seen as a public health issue.

There are about 2,000 out-of-hospital arrests in New Zealand every year, and Aickin says that many initiatives must be pursued to increase survival rates. One thing that he is sure of is that people need to be ready and able to respond. "We want people to be confident and know what to do", says Aickin. "Our new app is a great way to place the principles of basic life support in the palm of your hand."

Kids Save Lives can be downloaded for free from iTunes or Google Play.