Thursday 21st November 2013 – 1.30pm – Claire Brown.
A school in Walsall is doing its bit to help save lives by housing not one, but three life-saving pieces of kit.
In June, Shire Oak Academy’s student council needed to decide what to do with a pot of money left over from a student awards scheme. Rather than a new computer, sports gear or science equipment, the students unanimously voted to buy an automated external defibrillator; a device used to restart someone’s heart when they’re suffering a cardiac arrest.
Carol Waite is Assistant to the Pastoral Leader of Year 11 at the Academy and is passionate about saving lives. In her spare time, she supports West Midlands Ambulance Service by responding to 999 calls as a FastAid Community First Responder (CFR) in Walsall. Carol, who has been a CFR for 4 ½ years, has been promoting the importance of first aid and CPR training at the academy and said: “When the students decided to purchase a defib, with their own money, it was heart-warming. We’re incredibly lucky to have students who are very keen on first aid and helping others and they’re very supportive of FastAid too. When our Principal, Mr Crowther, purchased a second defib for the school to match that of the students, we were all over the moon!
“Having two defibrillators on site gives peace of mind to the 1,400 students and 140 staff based here as we know help is always close by. The defibrillators are located in the North and South buildings of the academy. Cardiac arrests don’t put an age on anyone and, as a CFR I know they can happen to anyone at any moment.”
In addition to the two defibrillators inside, West Midlands Ambulance Service located a third device outside. The Community Public Access Defibrillator, located in a yellow box on the gates of the school on Lichfield Road, is secure but publicly accessible in the event of an emergency. If someone suffers a cardiac arrest in the vicinity of the school, locals should call 999 and head to Shire Oak for a defibrillator.
Mr Crowther, Principal of Shire Oak Academy, said: “This is a brilliant initiative on so many levels. Having such wonderful technology available is one thing but ensuring careful and thoughtful siting is, of course, another. Our academy is at the hub of our community and is therefore perfect for this. As always, I’m so proud of our youngsters and the public spiritedness that they have shown by doing this.”
Emma Wilkins, the Trusts Regional Head of Community Response, said: “What a fantastic example of community engagement to help save lives. The hard work and effort to place the defibrillators is a credit to the school and local community support.”
Sir Richard Shepherd, MP for Aldridge and Brownhills, said: “This is a terrific initiative and fantastic to see the school supporting its local community, CFRs and ambulance service. As well as looking after its students and staff, it’s equally offering the same support to locals. We’re really fortunate to have this life saving box on our doorstep which will help locals to start vital treatment on a patient before a CFR or an ambulance arrives.”
Notes to Editor:
Pictured (Left to right back row): Mr Crowther, Sir Richard Shepherd and Carol Waite (front row) with Isabelle Webster and Chloe Lyndsey.
Picture of students (left to right): Sophie Scott, Maia Kaur, Isabelle Webster, Rachael Waite, Chloe Lyndsey, Georgia Bailey, Georgia Dyoss.