Campaigner calls for defibrillator in every school

Ricky Kerr, Jordan Rowlands, Georgie Purvis and Cristiano Crolla with the defibrillator at the Forrester/St Augustine's sports hub. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Ricky Kerr, Jordan Rowlands, Georgie Purvis and Cristiano Crolla with the defibrillator at the Forrester/St Augustine's sports hub. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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The Scottish Government is being urged to order a national register of defibrillators – and for one to be based at every school in Scotland.

Campaigner Miles Briggs said many lives would be saved every year if Britain followed the lead of other countries and made it a legal requirement for defibrillators to be installed in schools and public places.

His call comes almost a year after the Evening News launched the Shockingly Easy campaign in memory of 13-year-old Jamie Skinner to put a defibrillator in every sports centre in the Lothians.

Mr Briggs is campaigning for the Scottish Government to make it compulsory to have defibrillators located in major railway stations, shopping centres and schools and called for an open public register of defibrillators so people can quickly find the nearest one using modern technology.

Although as many as 270 children die after suffering cardiac arrest in British schools each year, there is no requirement for defibrillators to be kept on their premises.

Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome UK (Sads), 
estimates that as few as 80 of the 30,000 schools across the UK are known to have access to an automated external ­defibrillator.

Mr Briggs, who is standing as a Conservative candidate in Edinburgh Southern in May’s Scottish Parliament elections, said: “If an emergency defibrillator was located in every school this could also present an opportunity to provide for the local community as an emergency point.

“Too many lives are being lost that could be saved if only communities were better equipped to provide an emergency response.

“Just as we require fire extinguishers to be on hand in public buildings, the time has come for the Scottish Parliament to consider the need to set a minimum requirement on the location of defibrillators in public ­buildings.

“The time has come for a Scottish national register of defibrillators to be established and that a new law to locate a defibrillator on every school and sports campus should be considered. We need to take action to help save lives.”

Mr Briggs also praised the Evening News campaign which has helped to encouraged many sports clubs, offices and public transport hubs to take on defibrillators.

He said: “The Evening News is to be warmly congratulated on their support for the Shockingly Easy campaign and the aim to ensure that there is a life-saving defibrillator machine in every sports centre in Lothian. I fully support the campaign and hope that the next Scottish Parliament will put in place a public register of defibrillators and that steps will be taken to locate them in every Scottish school and sports centre.”

IN MEMORY OF JAMIE

THE News has joined the family of Jamie Skinner in launching the Shockingly Easy campaign. We hope to ensure there is a life-saving defibrillator in every Lothian sports centre. Here’s how to help:

• Make a donation or fundraise for a defibrillator cheques payable to The Jamie Skinner Foundation can be sent to Shockingly Easy, The Edinburgh Evening News, Orchard Brae House, 30 Queensferry Road, EH4 2HS.

• Volunteer to host a defibrillator training session at your sports club. Contact Sam Grieve at the Scottish Ambulance Service by e-mailing sgrieve1@nhs.net.

• Apply for funding for a device E-mail jamieskinnerfoundation@hotmail.com for an application form.