Schools and their pupils across Northern Ireland are being encouraged to get their creative juices flowing to win a life saving defibrillator.
45 devices, manufactured by Belfast company HeartSine Technologies, were provided to this year’s World Police and Fire Games and will now be presented to 45 schools as part of the 2013 Games’ life saving legacy programme.
The defibrillators will be given to children who can best sum up why their school should receive the device, which will be judged by a panel made up of representatives from HeartSine, World Police and Fire Games and the Red Cross, who have offered to provide free training to all schools selected.
Schools who wish to take part should state in more than 150 words: why their school should receive a defibrillator and where it will be located.
Andy McClernon, International Product Manager at HeartSine Technologies, said the programme will ensure local schoolchildren are protected from the devastating condition, Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA):
“SCA is one of the UK’s biggest killers. In fact, about 270 people die from it in the UK every single day. It can happen to anyone, at any time. That’s why we wanted the defibrillators which were originally stationed at World Police and Fire Games venues to be passed on to our local schools, so that pupils, staff, teachers and visitors are all protected should SCA occur. If someone suffers Sudden Cardiac Arrest, with 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 an incredible 70%.”
Schools will be judged on how best they demonstrate benefits to the school, evidence that pupils have learned about Sudden Cardiac Arrest and indication that teachers and students have worked on the application with consultation with their parents and local community.
Applications should also address how the wider school community will benefit from the defibrillator in particular local sports clubs, and accessibility to the community outside of the school term.
John Tully, Chief Executive of the 2013 World Police and Fire Games, said: “The Games were a resounding success and thankfully none of the devices had to be employed during the summer, but it was fantastic to know they were available should any of the athletes have suffered Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
“We wanted to leave an enduring and meaningful legacy of the 2013 Games and so are delighted that we are now able to pass the devices on to some extremely deserving local schoolchildren.
“The competition is a superb way for the wider school communities to get involved and demonstrate what this device would mean to them. We have already had considerable interest from schools and we wish them all the best of luck.”
Paula Powell from the Red Cross said: “84% of cases of Sudden Cardiac Arrest occur outside hospitals, for example at school, the workplace or home, so access to an available defibrillator is vital. It’s incredible to think that 45 local communities around Northern Ireland will now have easier access to a defibrillator, thanks to HeartSine and the World Police and Fire Games. We will be providing training to all schools on how to use the defibrillators as, although modern defibs are very straightforward to use, our experience shows that completing a first aid course gives people the necessary understanding and also the confidence to get involved in an emergency situation. The rollout of these AED units will undoubtedly save lives in the coming years and that is a remarkable legacy for everyone involved in the World Police and Fire Games.”
If you wish to avail of one of the 45 defibrillators, please state why your school should receive one and where it will be located in no more than 150 words and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Friday 8 November 2013.