FAMILIES were given the chance to learn life-saving first aid skills during a fun-filled day.
Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs used the Play Day at Summerhill Country Park to reach out to visitors to learn CPR.
Summerhill Visitor Centre was busy with children and parents for a variety of activities including meeting exotic animals such as snakes, tarantulas and meerkats.
But they were also encouraged to learn how to perform CPR on heart attack victims as part of a drive to improve action by bystanders for Hartlepool.
Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher was shown what to do by Sue Reed of the North East Ambulance Service.
She also showed Councillor Akers-Belcher how the public can use defibrillator machines which are being installed at more locations across the town.
Speaking to adults and children at the play event, Coun Akers-Belcher said: “One of the concerns in Hartlepool is around promoting CPR as we have one of the lowest rates of bystander assistance before paramedics arrive, at only 12 per cent.
“We are trying to show people it is easy to be involved.
“Every minute that someone who has had a heart attack doesn’t get CPR reduces their chance of survival by 10 per cent.”
A defibrillator machine was recently installed at Summerhill Visitor Centre and all the staff have bene trained in how to use it.
Sue, a community resuscitator officer for the ambulance service, echoed the message.
She said: “I can’t stress how important it is. We want it taught at school level.
“It is so easy to do and it saves lives.”
Three years ago, Hartlepool became the first Heart Town in the north by pledging to improve the town’s cardiac health with the British Heart Foundation.
Health advisors also manned information tables at Summerhill yesterday and gave out British Heart Foundation goodie bags full of healthy advice.
Hartlepool Families First health bus was also there while visitors enjoyed activities such as orienteering, rounders and cross-country croquet.