Defibrillators should be installed in schools, says Ballyclare teacher

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A local teacher is urging politicians to make Northern Ireland a national leader by installing defibrillators in all schools.

Leigh Cooper from Ballyclare, an officer with the Ulster Teachers’ Union, said: “Here in Northern Ireland whilst we have great research into heart conditions we also have great need. About one in 20 cases of sudden cardiac death and up to one in five young sudden cardiac deaths are attributed to sudden arrhythmia death syndrome (SADS) and over the years an alarming number of these deaths have been among young sports men and women.

“Medical experts believe many children could be saved if a defibrillator was used within minutes of collapse. However, there is currently no national system in place in the UK to ensure defibrillators are on school premises.

“We would love the Department of Education and Department of Health to make Northern Ireland a national leader by turning our schools into life-saving community hubs and installing a defibrillator as well as funding training in their use in every school here.”

She added: “To date, only about a fifth of our schools across Northern Ireland have these devices, despite the fact that the premises are used by so many people of all ages every day and evening. An investment like this would be an investment in the health and future of our communities.

“We would urge the politicians to have a heart and make this support available.”