Personal loss due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest, accessibility to emergency services, and access by the local community cited as reasons for schools wanting an AED
Forty-five schools from across Northern Ireland have been presented with life-saving defibrillators by the Sports Minister Carál Ni Chuilín at a special ceremony held today at Stormont.
The devices, manufactured by HeartSine Technologies, were handed over to representatives from each of the selected schools during the ceremony held at Stormont’s Long Gallery as part of the 2013 World Police and Fire Games (WPFG) lasting legacy.
The selected schools were deemed to have submitted the best entries explaining why they should receive one of the 45 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) originally stationed at this year’s Games at various venues across the province.
Many of the entries mention personal loss due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest; because SCA can happen to anyone, several schools cited the loss of pupils, former pupils, staff, or family and friends of pupils and staff as a key reason in asking for the AED. A few of the schools mentioned the need to protect those pupils with known heart conditions.
Accessibility is also mentioned as a key issue for many schools that have limited access to emergency services due to the location or layout of the school. In addition to being immediately accessible, the AED will provide peace of mind to the school staff and pupils.
Speaking at the presentation of the defibrillators in Stormont, Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said:
“The World Police and Fire Games were a landmark event, which saw 7000 competitors from 67 countries competing in 56 sports. Add to this the tens of thousands of spectators, 3,500 volunteers and numerous support staff and you have a sporting celebration on a grand scale.
“After the event, the focus turns to the legacy and how we can use the momentum of the Games to make a positive impact on people’s lives – particularly in areas of deprivation and social exclusion.
“That is why I welcome this initiative, which sees a potentially lifesaving piece of equipment given to schools. It is a positive development for those at the schools, and their wider communities.
“I would like to thank HeartSine Technologies, who manufactured the defibrillators, for their support during the Games, and for this important contribution to the legacy.
“It is impossible to predict when a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) may occur. What we can do, however, is prepare best as we can. While I hope this equipment never has to be used, it can make the difference in a potentially life-threatening situation.”
Seamus Murray, Director of Business Services at 2013 WPFG Ltd. said:
“In August we celebrated the Games and its success, today we are able to continue that success through our legacy work with one of our key sponsors, Heartsine.
“The involvement of schools in the Games was one of our key priorities, to see so many of those schools here today from right across Northern Ireland receiving their defibrillators is tremendous.
“These will be of great benefit to the local school and surrounding communities.”
The judging panel was made up of representatives from HeartSine, WPFG and the Red Cross, which will provide free AED training in 2014 to all schools selected to receive a defibrillator.
Declan O’Mahoney, Chief Executive of HeartSine Technologies, who are the only company to design, develop and manufacture AEDs in the UK or Ireland, said:
“We were delighted to initially provide 45 defibrillators to the Games venues, and even more delighted to have been involved with such a fantastic legacy program which has allowed us to distribute our lifesaving devices to a number of schools within each of Northern Ireland’s five Education and Library Boards.
“I would like to thank all of the schools who took the time to support this initiative because in backing this campaign and getting an AED, the schools are supporting their local community who will have access to the defibrillator as well.
“Around 270 people die from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) every single day in the UK.
“If someone suffers SCA and is treated with Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) alone, survival rates are less than 5%.
“If, however, you combine CPR with the use of a defibrillator, then the rate of survival can increase to over 70%, so the immediate presence of an AED to save more lives and fight against SCA is crucial.”
Paula Powell, Community First Aid Manager from the British Red Cross, which will be providing training for up to 15 members of staff from each of the schools receiving a defibrillator, said:
“Defibrillator training is a great opportunity to try out the equipment and become familiar with the device. It also gives people the confidence to get involved in an emergency situation.”
HeartSine AEDs, which are manufactured in over 29 languages, are in place in public buildings, schools and sporting arenas across the world including The White House, European Parliament Buildings, Stormont Parliament Buildings and at George Best Belfast City Airport.
The list of schools who received a life saving defibrillator is provided here.