Chris Gendall sets up heart start campaign for community
A WEST Penwith man is setting up a 'heart start' and emergency medical aid campaign to give as many people as possible the skills and confidence to treat those in need.
Chris Gendall, from Porthcurno, is launching Heart Start Penwith (HSP), a free training scheme, early in 2014.
Mr Gendall works for the NHS at a doctors' surgery in St Ives and said in a rural community being equipped and ready to deal with problems such as heart attacks and severe bleeding is "vital".
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"Living rurally, knowing how to treat someone can mean the difference between life and death," he said.
"Having someone there who understands how to treat a patient in an emergency situation saves lives – giving life support to someone, being able to deal with heart problems, it can increase the chance of survival by 80 per cent."
He has brought together nurses, a doctor and other industry professionals to set up the project, which will provide training to anyone willing to learn.
The first session will be in January in either Porthcurno or St Levan – with other areas such as Pendeen, Zennor and St Buryan in line to benefit.
"It will teach people how to deliver all the necessary techniques to help patients," he explained.
"I've set this up because we have all lost somebody – I want people in our local community to have the knowledge.
"I think it is essential here."
Mr Gendall also mentioned he intends to introduce training into schools and will be entirely run by volunteers.
Linda Petzing received training in April and is now involved in the project.
She said having the ability to keep someone alive until help arrives is "an essential life skill".
HSP is affiliated with the British Heart Foundation which, along with the council and local businesses, has provided additional funding for the project.
Katherine Bassey, BHF's Heart Start co-ordinator for Cornwall, said Mr Gendall's scheme is really positive.
"He wanted to be able to offer people in his community these skills – there is a real need for them.
"I think it's great. We need people like Chris who are willing to give up their own time."
If you would like to offer support, take part in training or simply get in touch, e-mail Mr Gendall at heartstartpen firstname.lastname@example.org
Heart Start Penwith is a separate initiative to the Heart Start campaign supported by The Cornishman and Ronnie Richards Memorial Charity (RRMC) which is placing defibrillators in public locations.