IF you were to have a heart attack, perhaps the best place outside a hospital is at a top flight football ground, where there are the club’s medics on hand and also skilled and talented people from all walks of life in the crowd.

Dr Tom Prichard from the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton was on hand during Sunday’s match, and he helped revive a member of the crowd who collapsed.

It is a frighteningly common occurrence: there are 60,000 cardiac arrests outside hospital in the UK every year; 12 people under the age of 35 die every week from a sudden attack.

"I want to stress the importance of early Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), early chest compressions and early defibrillation," said Dr Prichard yesterday. "That is what saved this man's life.”

How to perform CPR is now on the national curriculum, and defibrillators are appearing in more and more communities – the Premier League is installing 2,000 in grassroots football facilities following the collapse of the Danish footballer Christian Eriksen during the World Cup, for instance.

However, more communities need to come together to install and maintain defibrillators, and more people need to know how to use them, and more people need to know how to deliver chest compressions.

There are lots of resources online: the NHS website explains how to perform CPR, or there is a free online course at ukcoaching.org, and the North East Ambulance Service website tells how to get a defibrillator installed.

Sunday’s events, and the heroics of people like Dr Prichard, show how important it is that everybody is aware of what to do in an emergency.