Fabrice Muamba (centre) with Virgin Media employees Dave Payne (left) and John Gannon (right)

  • 500 front-line Virgin Media staff have received lifesaving CPR and defibrillator training from the British Heart Foundation, alongside portable defibrillators for each of their company vehicles
  • Ex-footballer and cardiac arrest survivor, Fabrice Muamba, praises campaign and encourages more people to learn CPR
  • The programme has already helped save a life after a Virgin Media employee put their training in practice by the roadside
  • Campaign launched to encourage more people to get trained in CPR as a third (36%) of Brits admit to not knowing the basics

Virgin Media has today revealed that it has completed one of the UK’s largest ever mobile defibrillator roll out programmes, through its life-saving initiative with the British Heart Foundation.

The business has already trained 500 front-line staff in CPR and the use of a defibrillator (AED), with each first responder receiving a portable defibrillator for their company vehicle.

With fully trained employees working in every corner of the UK, the programme is the largest of its kind and means that, at any one time, there are up to 500 Virgin Media staff ready to respond in a crisis via the NHS first responder GoodSAM app, including in many areas without easy access to defibrillator machines.

The news of the initiative follows a recent poll commissioned by Virgin Media which has found that, whilst 89% say they’d help a stranger with a medical emergency no matter what, if faced with someone having a cardiac arrest, less than half (48%) say they’d feel confident to step up and use CPR – with getting it wrong (62%) or hurting someone (41%) amongst Brit’s biggest fears.

Despite the appetite to help, just 26% say they know how to both administer CPR and use a public access defibrillator.

To help Brits, Virgin Media, in initiative with the British Heart Foundation, will be sharing easy to follow instructions and helpful tips and advice across its platforms. This will mean that millions more people can build up the skills and confidence needed to correctly administer CPR if it was ever required.

Ex-professional footballer, Fabrice Muamba, who suffered a cardiac arrest during a 2012 FA Cup match, praised the roll out and campaign for driving further awareness of what he called a ‘critical issue’. Muamba made a full recovery thanks to the quick administration of CPR and access to a defibrillator and is now urging people to complete basic life-saving training.

Commenting on the programme, Fabrice Muamba said: “Cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, at any time and to anyone, regardless of your age, health or fitness level, which is why Virgin Media’s training roll out is so valuable.

“Quick access to CPR and a defibrillator is a matter of life or death, so ensuring that as many people as possible have the training and the confidence to act in a crisis is life-saving and vital.

 “CPR training is quick, simple and easy to learn, which is why I encourage everyone to visit Virgin Media’s website and learn these lifesaving skills.”

Jeff Dodds, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “With people working across our network in every corner of the country, this programme has the power to be transformative. 

“The evidence and statistics around cardiac arrest is clear: CPR training saves lives which is why we’re putting into action one of the country’s largest ever training drives. Spending a small amount of time today could save somebody’s life tomorrow, so we urge everyone to learn about this important skill with information available on our website and through the British Heart Foundation.”

Since the beginning of the roll out, several Virgin Media employees have jumped into action and put their life-saving skills into practice.

Just months after completing his training, Virgin Media Field Technician Morgan Sherlock resuscitated a man who had suffered a cardiac arrest at the roadside. Morgan, who was driving back from work, stopped when he came across the emergency situation and used his mobile defibrillator to administer shocks while they waited for an ambulance to arrive.

His quick action, and the mobile defibrillator in his van, saved the man’s life.

Virgin Media Field Technician, Morgan Sherlock, said: “Taking part in the British Heart Foundation’s training scheme through work gave me the skills, confidence and equipment needed to act quickly in a crisis.

“Like many volunteers, I never expected I’d be needed in a real-life emergency, but only a few months after my training I was able to resuscitate someone who had suffered a cardiac arrest.

“Whilst I was just in the right place at the right time, my story is not uncommon. CPR and defibrillator awareness training really does save lives and, by more people taking the opportunity to learn, it has the power to save countless more.”

Virgin Media employees have been given the opportunity to complete the life-saving training during work hours on a voluntary basis, with employee’s giving hundreds of hours of their time to date.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: “We are thrilled that Virgin Media have chosen to train so many of its frontline staff in CPR, and to equip them with mobile defibrillators. When a cardiac arrest happens, prompt CPR and use of a defibrillator gives someone the best chance of survival – so having 500 potential life savers from Virgin Media could make all the difference in the ultimate medical emergency. 

“This important work also highlights just how vital it is for everybody to learn CPR – and everyone to take a little time to familiarise themselves with this vital skill – you never know when you might end up needing it.”

Information on CPR training can be found: www.virginmedia.com/BHF


Notes to Eds

  • The survey of 2,000 UK adults was carried out by Research Without Barriers between 8th and 10th November 2021.
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