People urged to undertake free CPR courses

Hands for Life run by Irish Heart Foundation
  • Deborah Condon

Members of the public are being urged save the lives of women nationwide by attending a free Hands for Life CPR course.

To mark International Women's Day (March 8), the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) has launched a campaign featuring the story of a woman who survived a cardiac arrest in 2016.

Rosaleen Walsh from Ballymote in Co Sligo suffered a cardiac attest while competing in a charity cycle event in Westport. Luckily, fellow cyclists, Jeanette Gray and Therese O'Grady, were able to perform CPR on Ms Walsh until an air ambulance arrived.

"It was a lovely morning and I felt great, but after cycling 20km, I felt very tired and then had an overwhelming shortness of breath. I was told I collapsed, fell off my bike and went into cardiac arrest, and then I woke up in intensive care.

"If Jeanette and Therese were not there and I had not received the high-quality CPR I did for 27 minutes, I would not be alive today. I'm able to lead a very active life with my children because of CPR," she explained.

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is a simple skill that involves pushing hard and fast on the chest of someone in cardiac arrest.

Hands for Life is a free CPR training programme from the IHF, which is supported by Abbott and ESB Networks. It provides training on how to recognise and react in a cardiac emergency and the course takes just under one hour to complete.

Attendees learn:
-How to recognise a cardiac arrest
-How to perform compressions, including hands-on practice on a CPR training manikin
-How to use an AED (automated external defibrillator)
-How to respond to a choking emergency
-How to recognise a stroke
Hands for Life training courses take place in community centres, workplaces, various clubs and other venues across Ireland.

"Every day in Ireland, 13 people die from a cardiac arrest, which can happen in the home, community or workplace. This March, we are urging men and women around the country to mark International Women's Day by learning how to save a woman's life with a free Hands for Life CPR course.

"CPR is a life-saving skill and in a cardiac emergency, can be the difference between life or death. By performing compressions quickly, you can double or even triple a person's chance of survival,''explained Brigid Sinnott, resuscitation manager with the IHF.

According to Ms Gray who performed lifesaving CPR on Ms Walsh, people don't realise how important their hands are and how easy it is to learn CPR.

"I could feel no pulse and I knew I had to proceed with compressions until emergency services arrived. I would urge people to participate in the free Hands for Life course - it's essential," she said.

Hands for Life training courses are free and open to all adults aged 18 and over. To sign up for a course and to view Ms Walsh's story, visit

Communities, workplaces and clubs who have 90 or more people interested in a free Hands for Life training course can contact the IHF directly on (01) 668 5001 or, to arrange a training course in their area.


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