A campaign has been launched which aims to help deliver life-saving equipment to schools across Hartlepool.
The group Defibs 4 Hartlepool is hoping to raise funds to buy automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in an attempt to improve the survival rates of children who suffer cardiac arrests.
Statistics around children in schools having cardiac arrests and losing their lives as a result of having no difibrillator available are frighteningMark Rycraft
As many as 270 children die in the UK each year after having a sudden cardiac arrest at school.
Mark Rycraft, who has helped to set up the group, believes the equipment could prove vital, and has urged schools in the area to buy an AED.
Defibs 4 Hartlepool made a £350 donation towards the cost of buying a £1,300 AED for Clavering Primary School, in Clavering Road, Hartlepool, where it is ready for use if required.
Mr Rycraft said: “Three colleagues and I attended an awards ceremony in Newcastle. They were rewarding community groups for saving lives.
“It was there that we wondered how many schools in Hartlepool had defibrillators.
“Statistics around children in schools having cardiac arrests and losing their lives as a result of having none available are frightening.
“We called a number of schools in Hartlepool and not one of them had a defibrillator, which we were concerned about. We set up a group which raises money and awareness.
“The first school we spoke to was Clavering, and headteacher Miss O’Brien was extremely helpful. They had already considered buying one.
“We had a conversation about how we could help, and we decided to assist financially.
“Now we want to raise awareness further and help to put them into schools across Hartlepool.
“We don’t have an awful lot of money in the bank, but we think we can contribute towards defibrillators for at least four schools in Hartlepool.”
Clavering headteacher Helen O’Brien said: “The defibrillator alerts you to call the emergency services.
“In the meantime, vital life-saving action can be taken to give the person the best possible chance of survival.
“If a defibrillator is used and effective CPR is performed within three to five minutes of cardiac arrest, survival chances increase from 6% to 74%.
“The health and safety of the Clavering community is paramount.
“Hopefully, we will never have to use the defibrillator, but we will be prepared if sudden cardiac arrest strikes a pupil, member of staff or visitor.
“I would like to thank Defibs 4 Hartlepool for their generous donation towards the defibrillator and for their commitment to raising the profile of defibrillators in schools.”
Schools interested can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org