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Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is in the running to scoop a national award for teaching life-saving skills to communities across the county The service has been shortlisted for the Public Sector Organisation of the Year prize at the Heart Safe UK awards in Manchester next month.
This award celebrates an outstanding public sector organisation that has invested in life-saving equipment and staff training to provide a Heart Safe environment for their employees and communities.
For over ten years, but with increasing momentum in the last five, Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) has delivered a training programme teaching basic life support to members of the public, businesses, voluntary and community organisations, schools, youth groups, women’s institutes and young farmers.
In 2011 alone the service trained 1,500 people in the county in basic life support and it is estimated around 5,000 have been trained over the past five years. The training is delivered by firefighters, staff and volunteers across the length and breadth of Cumbria.
In addition to teaching communities basic life-saving skills, Cumbria’s firefighters are also trained in life-support and trauma and undertake a five-day course in Immediate Emergency Care.
All Cumbria’s fire appliances (engines) carry defibrillators and there are plans to ensure that the county’s fire stations also host them for the benefit of the local community.
In 2011 CFRS was awarded the Olympic Inspire Mark for its FireFit programme which includes training members of the public in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) AED (Automated External Defibrillator awareness) and sporting activities for young people utilising the service’s soccer cage and climbing wall.
Councillor Gary Strong, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for community safety and local services, said: “Being nominated for a prestigious national award is well deserved recognition for the excellent work CFRS has undertaken in teaching life-saving skills to thousands of people around the county.
“Providing immediate first aid can dramatically improve a casualty’s chance of survival and in a large, rural area like Cumbria where it can take emergency services longer to arrive, these skills are even more important.”
Three other organisations, including the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, are in the running for the Heart Safe award with the winner being announced at the ceremony in Manchester on 20 September.
For more information on the Heart Safe awards visit www.ukheartsafeawards.co.uk