More than 30,000 people suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK every year - 80 per cent of which occur in the home, often in front of family members and loved ones.
But fewer than one in ten people survive, partly because not enough people have the skills and confidence to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
The British Heart Foundation says the Nation of Lifesavers initiative could save around 5,000 additional lives a year in the UK, based on survival rates in countries like Norway (25 per cent) where CPR training is mandatory in schools.
The BHF is calling for CPR and public access defibrillator (PAD) awareness to be taught in all secondary schools and a recent survey showed 82 per cent of people would be behind this move.
Since the launch of the campaign, on October 16, more than 5,000 people have signed the petition to make these skills part of the curriculum.
Mrs Laing has pledged her support for the Nation of Lifesavers campaign and is calling on secondary schools and community groups in Epping Forest to order their free Call Push Rescue Training Kit.
Mrs Laing said: “Cardiac arrest survival rates in the UK fall way behind survival rates in other countries where CPR training is part of the curriculum.
“By joining the Nation of Lifesavers I want to see every child in the UK finish school equipped with the necessary skills to respond in a medical emergency.
“CPR is an important skill and just 30 minutes of training could save someone’s life.”
Mrs Laing was joined by Samantha Hobbs who at 14 helped to save her mum’s life by performing CPR.
With her dad, they kept her mum alive until the emergency services arrived and could get her heart beating again with a single electric shock from a defibrillator.
Samantha had been trained in CPR so she knew what to do.
Now she is campaigning to raise awareness among others so more people are trained and more lives can be saved.
On October 16 the BHF trained nearly 12,000 schoolchildren at the launch of a new CPR training programme which is free for schools to register for.
The innovative training programme enables schools, workplaces, and community groups to become completely self-sufficient in teaching the three simple steps that could save a life: Call. Push. Rescue.
BHF chief executive Simon Gillespie said: “Too many lives are lost needlessly because people don’t have the basic CPR skills to act in life-threatening situations.
“We’re determined to radically improve the country’s shocking survival rates and mandatory training in secondary schools will go a long way towards that.
“We need every school, workplace, community group and individual to join the Nation of Lifesavers and help make the UK a safer place to live.”
To help the BHF create a Nation of Lifesavers visit
and sign the petition at www.bhf.org.uk/cprpetition