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Schools urged to get behind first aid drive

Malvern Editorial 28th Nov, 2013 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

CAMPAIGNERS behind an ambitious drive to establish a first aider on every town street are now calling on every Malvern school to have a defibrillator.

The Neighbourhood Watch group is behind the joined up bids and have set up a working party to investigate the latest proposal.

They hope to raise awareness of the importance of defibrillators and support schools to hold fund-raisers to pay for their own equipment.

A fundamental part of the plan would be to train as many teachers as possible to use them and to make them available to all members of the surrounding community as well as school pupils.

If the idea takes off, the group aims to get other organisations on board including sports clubs and even local pubs.

Martin Lawrence, Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator and a member of the working party, said: “Modern defribrillators are so sophisticated that operators need very little training, the apparatus assesses the needs of the patient and only administers a shock if absolutely necessary and constantly ‘speaks’ to the operator to say what it is doing.

“Unfortunately, because of the cost, schools lack these life-saving bits of kit.”

Kevin Thomson is also on the working party and is a first aider for The British Red Cross.

He said: “The chances of survival when there is a defibrillator available are much higher.

“Now they are almost to the point where people don’t need training because they are so fool proof.”

A spokeswoman for Worcestershire County Council said the council had no policy on the issue and it was down to each school to decide whether they wanted to house a defibrillator.

She added the council supported schools which wanted to hold first aid sessions for pupils.

Jude Holmes, head of first aid education marketing at the British Red Cross, has backed the move.

She said: “Defibrillators are becoming more common place in public spaces and venues, and we want more people to be confident in using them.

“They are designed to be user-friendly, and this is a great opportunity for people to come try out the machine.

“With over 100,000 heart attacks a year in the UK, you never know when you might be called upon to use that training in real life.

“Our first aiders have saved lives using defibrillators for over a decade now.

“Worldwide, Red Cross and Red Crescent societies have the experience and the evidence that proves that use of defibrillators, combined with an early 999 call and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, helps save lives time and again.”

Through the Neighbourhood Watch residents can now receive a three-hour first aid training course from St John Ambulance for £15.

Anyone interested can call Martin Lawrence on 07505 053175.

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