Life-saving equipment has been installed at Newington Community Primary School in Ramsgate to serve people in the local area.
An automated portable defibrillator for use with people who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest is sited in the school’s main reception area.
The equipment was paid for by Thanet Lions Club as part of the charity’s nationwide campaign to have the machines placed in community areas.
School parent governor Natalie Luddington is a nurse and highlighted the need for an AED – Automated External Defibrillator – with head teacher Cliff Stokes and Newington’s welfare officer Sharon Robb.
It was agreed to permanently site a unit at the school and sponsorship for the machine was the next step. It was then that Thanet Lions came forward as part of their charity’s community project and provided the whole unit.
Mrs Luddington explained: “You don’t need to be trained to use the AED – anyone can use it. There are clear instructions on how to attach the defibrillator pads. The unit assesses the heart rhythm and will only instruct you to deliver a shock if it is needed.
“The Resuscitation Council UK guidance on AEDs is that this equipment is safe to use and can be readily used by untrained bystanders.”
Miss Robb said: “The idea is that the AED is available in an emergency for the whole of our area. There is a community centre and a sheltered housing project for the elderly nearby with no such equipment for example, and there are quite a few community events at school after hours together with youth football training at the weekends.
“It is a vital piece of equipment that is extremely easy to use and it does help save lives.”
Mr Stokes said: “This critically important machine is now in place at Newington thanks to the generosity of Thanet Lions Club. We wish them every success in providing more units in key community areas around Thanet.”
Thanet Lions president Steve Carley and member Cathy Griggs performed the official hand over of the unit at the school.
Steve said: “It is important to have units like these in community areas and our aim is to provide them around Thanet whenever we can. So far we have provided them at The Shed Project at St Peter’s and at Palm Bay pharmacy.
“If the machine helps save just one life, then it has been worthwhile.”
Cathy added: “We have been holding a range of different fund raising events to pay for the machines, including quizzes, murder mystery nights and our regular boot fairs. The Lions are proud to help the community.”
For Mrs Luddington the tragedy of sudden cardiac arrest hit home in 2017.
She explained: “My friend’s brother Steve was a fit and healthy man who had no precious health issues. He had played rugby for many years with Sheppey Colts, representing Kent, Blackheath, Glasgow Academicals and Hawks in Scotland. He also represented Scottish Exiles and was capped for Scotland U19 and U21.
“He moved to Singapore in 2012 as a financial consultant and played for Singapore Bucks veterans’ team and coached the ladies team.
“He had been swimming in a triathlon in Singapore when he suffered a fatal heart attack. Although the medical team tried CPR they were unable to save him. He was 42.”
Cardiac facts (with thanks to Nurse Luddington)
- 270 children die in the UK every year after suffering a Sudden Cardiac Arrest at school
- It is estimated that there are approximately 60,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests
- About 80% of out of hospital cardiac arrests occur at home, 20% will occur in a public place
- Without immediate treatment 90-95% of SCA victims will die
- If a defibrillator is used and effective CPR is performed within 3-5 minutes the chance of survival is increased from 6% to 74%