Hand On Heart

30th June 2011

A vital piece of equipment…

The medical centre at The Royal Masonic School for Girls, Rickmansworth, is pleased to announce that the school was one of the winners of a free automated external defibrillator (AED) for schools organized by the Hand on Heart campaign. The Royal Masonic School for Girls entered the draw with a number of other schools around the country. The standard was extremely high but after going to a panel of judges it was felt that that RMS was a worthy winner, and the school has been offered a fantastic package:

1 Philips Heartstart HS1 defibrillator
1 Adult smart electrode pad cartridge
1 Paediatric smart electrode pad cartridge
1 Non-rechargeable lithium manganese dioxide battery
1 Rescue kit (towel, pocket mask, razor, scissors)
1 Slim carry case
1 wall bracket
1 AED locator wall sign
24 Laerdal faceshields
4 Laerdal MiniAnne training packs - cpr dummies
AED training course for up to 6 people + CPR training for one class (up to 30 students)

To match this incentive the Royal Masonic School Governors have provided funding for a further two defibrillators and, due to the size of the grounds, have applied for the funding of a fourth from the British Heart Foundation to provide rapid access to life saving equipment for the school and extended community.

Twelve young people a week lose their lives to sudden cardiac arrest according to official statistics published by the government. Unfortunately 80% of those young people that die have had no symptoms. We would only know there was an underlying problem if the individuals had attended some form of cardiac screening – and the reality is that this screening just doesn't happen.

Some great inroads are being made by charities such as CRY (Cardiac Arrest in the Young – www.c-r-y.org.uk) SADS (Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome - www.sads.org.uk) and the Arrhythmia Alliance (www.heartrhythmcharity.org.uk), but the fact remains that young people are dying every single day from cardiac arrest.

Medical experts believe many children could be saved if an automated external defibrillator (AED) is used within minutes of a collapse. However, there is currently no national system in place in the UK to ensure AEDs are present and in working order in schools. The Hand on Heart campaign is hoping its scheme will raise awareness and encourage other schools to consider obtaining their own AED by either getting them to enter for the free grant or by getting Corporate Sponsorship from a local business by applying through the website (www.handonheart.org).

To get involved you simply need to nominate your school by visiting the Hand on Heart website, explaining in 400 words or less why you think your school should have a defibrillator.

For every minute that someone is in cardiac arrest their chance of survival drops by about 10%. If you have to wait for an ambulance it may be too late whereas if you have a defibrillator and are able to use it, the victim's chance for survival leaps to approx 78% chance of survival.......now that is certainly money and time well invested.

No other item at school could have such a positive impact on a student's life.

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