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25/9/2012 - Fire Service scoops national award

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service has won a national award for teaching life-saving skills to communities across the county.

The service scooped the Heart Safe Public Sector Organisation of the Year prize at the 2012 UK Heart Safe awards held in Salford on Thursday.

This award celebrates an outstanding public sector organisation that has invested in life-saving equipment and staff training to provide a Heart Safe environment for their employees and communities.

Other winners at the awards included the medical teams from Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur football clubs who picked up the Lifesaver of the Year gong for reviving Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba after he suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup quarter-final tie at White Heart Lane in March.

For more than 10 years, but with increasing momentum in the last five, Cumbria County Council's Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) has delivered a training programme teaching basic life support to members of the public, businesses, voluntary and community organisations, schools, youth groups, women's institutes and young farmers.

In 2011 alone the service trained 1,500 people in the county in basic life support and it is estimated around 5,000 have been trained over the past five years. The training is delivered by firefighters, staff and volunteers across the length and breadth of Cumbria.

In addition to teaching communities basic life-saving skills, Cumbria's firefighters are also trained in life-support and trauma and undertake a five-day course in Immediate Emergency Care.

All Cumbria's fire appliances (engines) carry defibrillators and there are plans to ensure that the county's fire stations also host them for the benefit of the local community.

In 2011 CFRS was awarded the Olympic Inspire Mark for its FireFit programme which includes training members of the public in CPR, AED (Automated External Defibrillator awareness) and sporting activities for young people utilising the service's soccer cage and climbing wall.

Councillor Gary Strong, Cumbria County Council's cabinet member for community safety and local services, said: "It's great news that Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service has won this prestigious national award for the excellent work the service does in teaching life-saving skills to thousands of people around the county.

"These skills can literally mean the difference between life and death for cardiac arrest victims so the Fire Service should be very proud of the award and this well deserved recognition."

CFRS weren't the only Cumbrian organisation to pick up an award on Thursday. The Lazonby and District First Responders won the Heart Safe Community First Responders prize.

The UK Heart Safe Awards are hosted by Manchester-based charity Hand on Heart. 
For general enquiries to Cumbria County Council's communications team contact or call 01228 226338/ 221008/ 226601