Kidderminster first aiders are set to hold a life-saving marathon at the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) this month. 

On Sunday, October 15, St John Ambulance members will attempt a non-stop ‘CPR-athon’ on board one of the SVR services travelling from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth.

The volunteers will carry out continuous CPR on a practice dummy for the one-and-a-quarter hours it takes to travel by heritage train between the two stations.

The manager of St John Ambulance’s Kidderminster unit, Brandon Keechan, said: “We wanted to replicate the amount of time you might need to do CPR depending on how long it takes for an ambulance to reach the scene.

“It can be very strenuous, but we’ll be working in tandem and taking turns to give chest compressions.

“Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after a cardiac arrest can double a victim’s chance of survival.”

During the day, they will also teach members of the public how to deliver CPR and use a defibrillator to save lives.

Mr Keechan said: “The early moments are critical. It really can make all the difference to have someone there who knows what to do.

“By delivering first-hand care and treatment with CPR and defibrillation you’re essentially keeping someone alive until an ambulance arrives.

“Members of our unit frequently carry out community first responding, and we’ve attended many incidences of cardiac arrest. We know that it really makes a difference and quite simply someone’s life depends on it.” 

Kidderminster Shuttle: St John Ambulance volunteers demonstrate CPR and defibrillation at the SVR St John Ambulance volunteers demonstrate CPR and defibrillation at the SVR (Image: Severn Valley Railway)

The SVR event is being held in advance of the Europe-wide ‘Restart a Heart Day’ on Monday, October 16, which aims to bring awareness, education and training to the general public in order to increase the likelihood of lives being saved in the event of a heart attack.

SVR volunteer and paramedic for West Midlands Ambulance Service, Martin Eaton, said: “Many customer-facing volunteers at the SVR are trained in first aid and we have defibrillators located at Kidderminster, Bewdley, Highley and Bridgnorth stations.

“Because we’re operating in a mainly rural setting, it is often volunteers and bystanders who are on scene first at medical emergencies. Knowing the basics, how to carry out CPR and the availability of a defibrillator saves lives.

“I’ve witnessed this many times and it’s always down to members of the public getting the basics right before the ambulance service arrives. It’s great that the SVR is getting involved in Restart a Heart Day.”