A NEWPORT school has lent its support to the Argus’ campaign to get a heart defibrillator into every secondary school across Gwent.
Our campaign, now in its second week, has seen us team up with the family of Jack Thomas, a 15-year-old Oakdale pupil who died suddenly of an underlying heart condition in February 2012. Jack’s mum June wants to see a defibrillator machine in every secondary school.
after seeing the difference it made to the footballer Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed on the football pitch in a high-profile case which saw immediate cardiac care play a key role in saving his life.
The campaign is also backed by the charity Welsh Hearts and the lobbying group SADS UK, which has supplied hundreds of schools with the machines over the years. through its own fundraising efforts.
On Friday the Argus revealed that just six out of 31 Gwent secondary schools (excluding the Rhymney Valley) have a defibrillator inside their buildings, although many of them are on the same site as leisure centres with them.
One of the six schools is Duffryn High School in Newport, where 50 staff are first-aid trained and know how to use the machine, such as school receptionist Emma Deakin. who checks the machine to ensure it is working.
Mark Tucker, who has been deputy head teacher at Duffryn for five years, said they bought their defibrillator for around £1,000 two years ago and they also have a dummy machine used to train staff how to operate it. “We have never used it, it is a safety precaution,” he said. “We have 50 staff who are first aid-trained and know how to use it. It could be used any time and it is better to be on the same side.”
The portable machine is checked regularly to ensure it’s working and is very simple to use, said Mr Tucker.
They have a guide and it speaks to you when you open it,” he said. “It’s almost foolproof.
“I think [the campaign] is a great idea because more you can do to support people in need of emergency care, the better.” You see more and more of these around the country. It’s about having them at the place where they are needed.”
Each defibrillator machine costs around £1,000, which means the Argus needs to raise at least £23,000 to fulfill the campaign’s aim to get a heart defribrillator installed in every secondary school in Gwent.
To donate, make cheques payable to Welsh Hearts and send them to Temple Court, 13a Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9HA, or directly to Newsdesk, South Wales Argus offices, Cardiff Road, Newport, NP20 3QN.
Please write ‘Jack Thomas defibs appeal’ on the back of your envelope.