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Be an emergency aider: heart attacks and strokes

Learn how to help someone who may be experiencing a heart attack or stroke.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Chairs
  • Big pieces of paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Sticky tack

Before you begin

  • Make sure the person leading the activity knows about first aid. Someone from your group or local area with a first aid certificate could take charge, or you could reach out to places that help provide first aid training or support, for example, St John Ambulance or the British Red Cross.
  • You’ll need enough leaders for the activity, including enough people who are happy to demonstrate first aid techniques.
  • Adults should only demonstrate and practise first aid on other adults; young people should only demonstrate and practise first aid on other young people. Adults and young people should never demonstrate or practise first aid on each other.
  • Remember that this activity touches on topics that might be sensitive for some people. Give everyone the opportunity to step away if they need to compose themselves.
  • Write the word ‘FAST’ down the left edge of the A3 paper and stick it up somewhere everyone will be able to see it.
  • Set up the chairs in a semi-circle facing the person leading the activity and ask everyone to sit down

Learn what to do for a heart attack

  1. Have a quick chat to see what everyone knows about heart attacks including why they happen and any signs or symptoms.
  2. Explain what heart attacks are and the signs and symptoms people can look out for.
  1. Show everyone how to treat someone with a suspected heart attack, using another adult as the casualty. Explain what you’re doing every step of the way.
  2. Everyone should get into pairs of young people. They should take it in turns to practise treating each other for a suspected heart attack. Make sure some adults walk around so they can help if anyone’s finding it tricky.

Learn what to do for a stroke

  1. Everyone should take it in turns to share what they know about strokes, including why they happen and any signs or symptoms.
  2. Explain what strokes and the signs and symptoms people can look out for. As you explain each symptom, write face, arms, speech, and time on the piece of A3 paper you wrote FAST on earlier.
  1. Show everyone how to treat someone with a suspected stroke, using another adult as the casualty, and include how to do the FAST checks and explain what you’re doing every step of the way.

Reflection

This activity was all about being responsible and developing skills. Why is it important to recognise the signs of a heart attack or stroke? People could think about how knowing what could be going on will help make sure the casualty gets emergency help as soon as possible. Are people confident that they’d know what to do if someone was experiencing symptoms? What happens when someone calls 999?

Safety

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.