Resuscitation Council (UK)

Press release

The RC (UK) and UNIT9 launch LIFESAVER

A revolutionary way to learn CPR

May 2013

Together with  award-winning production company UNIT9, we launch Lifesaver - a revolutionary new way to learn CPR.

An estimated 60,000 people each year in the UK have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and, sadly, less than 10% of those people will survive.  Yet, if a bystander is able to start CPR they could double a person’s chances of survival. 

Lifesaver is crisis simulator, which fuses interactivity and live-action film to teach CPR in a new way, on your computer, smartphone or tablet. And it’s completely free.

Lifesaver is a live-action movie you play like a game. It just happens to show you how to save someone's life. It throws you into the heart of the action, changing what happens in movies showing real people in real places.

You learn by doing: do it wrong, and see the consequences; do it right, and sense the thrill of saving a life.

On the versions for phone and tablet, you actually move your device up and down, two times a second, to do CPR on the victim in the film. If you’re too slow, he’ll die. When someone’s choking, you move your device down sharply to hit her on the back.

Lifesaver was produced by the UK’s top digital creative production house, UNIT9. It was written and directed by five-time BAFTA/Emmy nominee Martin Percy.

Lifesaver also provides an opportunity to hear expert advice on CPR and real-life accounts of cardiac arrest: for example, Viv Cummins’ husband suffered a cardiac arrest and she was unable to save his life.  Despite this tragic outcome, Viv talks about finding solace in the fact that because she knew how to perform CPR, she felt she did everything she could do to give her husband the best possible chance of survival.  In stark contrast, Emma Parks and her husband talk with great relief about how she was able to save his life through CPR.

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 of Lifesaver 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 was funded by the Resuscitation Council (UK) and a grant from the Technology Strategy Board.  

Notes to Editor: 

  • It is a striking fact that 80% of cardiac arrests occur in the home. This means that it is more likely that the person suffering the arrest will be someone known to the rescuer. Through the App, the Resuscitation Council (UK) wants to give everyone the confidence to start CPR, if required. Many people are deterred from getting involved because they are afraid of making things worse. However, if someone has a cardiac arrest, their heart has already stopped and they are likely to die if no help is offered - so you can only improve their situation by doing CPR.
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  • A cardiac arrest in not a heart attack. A cardiac arrest describes when the heart stops. One of the commonest causes of a cardiac arrest however is a heart attack*. The victim will be unconscious, unresponsive and not breathing normally.  In the first few moments after the heart stops, the victim may be gasping.  Without CPR and attempts to restart the heart, the victim will die.
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  • The treatment of cardiac arrest follows the chain of survival.  There are 4 links. The first link is to call for help (dial 999) and the second link is to start CPR. The third link is to restart the heart with an electric shock (defibrillation). The final link is the special care the victim needs once the heart has been restarted.  Laypeople can be easily trained to do the first three links.  Many places in the UK now have defibrillators (automated external defibrillators [AEDs] - that, when switched on, guide and prompt the user to do CPR and deliver a shock.
  • UNIT9 is a multidisciplinary production company. Directors, writers, technologists, working collaboratively to merge content, advertising, utility and gaming into outstanding digital experiences across mobile, physical installations and the web.

 *Heart attack is the term used commonly for myocardial infarction.   This is when an artery supplying blood to heart muscle becomes blocked and the heart muscle supplied by that artery dies. This usually causes severe chest pain and is an emergency. Individuals should dial 999 immediately.

 

 

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