IF someone collapsed in front of you while you were out shopping or waiting for a train, what would you do?

Panic and freeze — or start saving that person’s life?

A lot of people, like me, may have a rough idea of what they’re supposed to do, but would perhaps stand back for fear of getting something wrong.

The term “life-saving” may sound dramatic but life-saving skills are in fact simple steps to follow when someone collapses or has an accident — as I found out on my course in emergency life support.

For my training, I’ve called on the help of Steve Nicholls from North West Ambulance Service and Ben Lawton from the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, who both run Heartstart training sessions across Bolton.

In his role as community resuscitation development officer, Mr Nicholls is part of the big push for life-saving skills to be taught in schools, as does Mr Lawton with the community trust.

Mr Nicholls, a paramedic, explained: “What we want to do is to co-ordinate the Heartstart training, so once teachers are trained it can be incorporated into the curriculum. We also want Bolton to lead the way as a town so that as many people as possible are trained in emergency life support and that other areas in the North West will follow our example.”

First of all I learn how to approach a situation when someone has collapsed in a public place.

According to Mr Nicholls, it is quite common for people to stand back and watch.

He said: ”Quite often people will stop and stare because they don’t know what to do.

“It’s important that someone is able to stay calm and take control of the situation by following a few simple steps.”

As Mr Nicholls and Mr Lawton take me through CPR and the recovery position, I realise that the key is to stick to the principle “DRS ABC”.

D stands for danger, R for response, S for shout, A for Airway, B for breathing and C for CPR.

In short, you should first check you are not in danger, check for a response by asking whether the person can hear you, shout for help, check the person’s airways and if they are breathing.

If they are, put them in the recovery position and if they’re not — that’s when it’s time for CPR.

The course takes only two hours and is simple to understand — anyone over the age of 10 can do it — and is carried out using a combination of instruction, information videos and practical demonstrations.

The Bolton News is campaigning for every school in Bolton to learn how it is done and potentially save lives.

After completing my training, I would like to think I now have the confidence to help someone in an emergency — and not be the person who stands back and watches.

n The Heartstart training is carried out by both paramedics from the North West Ambulance Service and firefighters from Bolton, as well as staff at the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust.