MOST people in the Taunton area wouldn't know what to do if a loved one's heart stops beating, according to research by St John Ambulance.

Volunteers from the first aid charity in Taunton and Wellington hope to put that right by supporting its C.A.R.E. for a Heart campaign next week.

They are giving demonstrations of CPR, using a defibrillator and other first aid skills at the St John HQ in Canon Street, Taunton, on Saturday, December 16, from 10am to 4pm, when there will also be several fundraising activities.

The research shows that seven out of 10 people who suffer a cardiac arrest could survive if treated within five minutes - but 54 per cent of people in the South West don't know where their nearest life-saving equipment is.

The survey also highlights that 62 per cent of people in the region wouldn't know what to do if faced with a cardiac arrest, while 65 per cent would not be confident using a defibrillator - and 61 per cent even wrongly believe it would harm a patient.

The charity’s C.A.R.E for a Heart campaign highlights four steps to learn in advance, to give you and your loved ones the best chance of surviving a cardiac arrest:

  • C Closest defibrillator - find your closest defibrillator;
  • A Arrest? - be ready to spot the signs of cardiac arrest;
  • R Resuscitate - know how to resuscitate using CPR;
  • E Early defibrillation - which gives the best chance of survival.

St John Ambulance regional director Steve Hargreaves said: "None of us wants to find ourselves in a situation where we couldn’t save a loved one’s life, any more than we’d want them to stand by helpless if we suffered a cardiac arrest.

"That’s why we are urging everybody in the South West to learn the four simple steps of C.A.R.E today, so that if the worst happens tomorrow, we can all act quickly and confidently, especially when every second counts."

Click here for full details on how to learn the C.A.R.E. steps.

*St John Ambulance is currently recruiting new first aid volunteers in Somerset - click here for more details or email the charity’s area manager, Ollie Crandon at