University of Birmingham students will spend this Friday teaching members of the public how to use portable defibrillators at a special event at New Street station.

The defibrillators can improve the chances of a person’s survival by delivering an electric shock in certain cases of cardiac arrest, and this one day event is designed to boost public knowledge of these life saving techniques and equipment.

The outreach event aims to raise awareness of public access to automated external defibrillators (AED) scheme; a nationwide scheme which provides ready-to-use defibrillators in public places for anyone to deliver a shock safely to someone whose heart has stopped. There are over 400 public access AEDs across Birmingham; six of which are in New Street Station.

Students from the University’s Resuscitation for Medical Disciplines (RMD) - an organisation which trains medical, graduate entry medicine, physiotherapy, dental and masters of pharmacy students in Basic Life Support (BLS) provision, AED use and first aid delivery - will run the event.

Dr Jon Hulme, who established RMD 17 years ago while a third year medical student at the University, said: “As a senior doctor, I now work with the emergency ambulance service and in an intensive care unit, treating patients during and after cardiac arrest. I see first-hand how much of a difference it can make if a member of the public starts resuscitation before an ambulance arrives. 

“We have been training our healthcare students at the University of Birmingham to do these lifesaving skills for nearly 20 years on a course that has become known internationally for its quality and innovation. We train our senior students to teach their junior colleagues and their enthusiasm and commitment is second to none which is why they have been keen to pass on their skills to others.”

Professor Kate Thomas, Vice Dean of the Medical School said: "Our students are outstanding in their drive to make a difference for the community in Birmingham. The idea for this came from the students and they have organised it all. We are very grateful to the staff at New Street for embracing the idea. It is a pleasure to teach such enthusiastic and able students, who genuinely want to help others."

Representatives from RMD will be at New Street Station between 08:30 and 17:00 on Friday 28 March with resuscitation manikins and training AED devices. Academics and members of the RMD will be on hand to answer visitors’ questions and to give demonstrations. 


  • Photocall: The event takes place on Friday 28 March between 08:30 and 17:00 at New Street Train Station. There will be an opportunity to photograph the team and equipment between 09:30 and 11:00. Please call the press office to confirm availability and request interviews. 
  • The Basic Life Support course is a requirement of the first year degree programme for some medical subjects. In the academic year 2013/14 RMD has trained over 1,000 school children in vital resuscitation techniques in conjunction with the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) HeartStart scheme. The HeartStart scheme trains children in key basic life support techniques such as chest compressions.
  • A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops pumping blood effectively and normal breathing ceases to occur. There are approximately 60,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) every year. For every minute a cardiac arrest patient’s heartbeat is compromised, and resuscitation attempts not commenced, survival rates can decrease by as much as 10%. Starting compressions and administering a shock as early as possible greatly enhances the chances of survival.
  • For further information please contact Faye Jackson in the University of Birmingham Press Office on +44 (0)121 414 6029.