Four Ballyclare High pupils have been presented with a life-saving defibrillator for their school in recognition of their award-winning entry in a national engineering contest.
Chris Graham, Katie Jackson, Daniel Orr and Lana Robb achieved an “Engineering Excellence” accolade in the Sentinus Big Bang competition.
The young aspiring engineers competed against hundreds of others from across Northern Ireland to design a device that enabled signals from a car’s anti-lock braking system to be integrated with the tyre pressure monitoring sensors, which were manufactured by Schrader Electronics in Antrim.
As a result, Ballyclare High was presented with the defibrillator by Joy Taggart of Belfast based HeartSine Technologies, which manufactures and exports life-saving automated external defibrillators to 70 countries worldwide.
Joy said: “It’s a great privilege to present one of our defibrillators to Ballyclare High School in recognition of their engineering prowess which they so clearly deserve.
“Considering that 84 per cent of sudden cardiac arrests happen outside of a medical facility, HeartSine Technologies is passionate about communicating the importance of installing a lifesaving defibrillator into as many institutions as possible to allow for greater public access.
“It is a common misconception that sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) only affects those who live an inactive lifestyle, or are elderly.
“SCA often strikes without warning and affects people from all walks of life regardless of how old or physically active they are.
“The best way to prepare ourselves and our loved ones against this potentially fatal condition is ensure Automated External Defibrillators are common in public buildings including schools.”
Research has shown that chances of survival after a SCA using CPR alone is less than five per cent; however, when combined with the use of an AED, survival rates can increase to over 70 per cent.
Ballyclare High School physics teacher, Dr Paul Wilson commented: “We always encourage our pupils to embrace their creative talents and use their imaginations to come up with solutions to solve everyday problems.
“We are extremely proud of our students for achieving such a high accolade and winning the school a life-saving defibrillator which in itself, is a product of engineering excellence.
“Having the HeartSine defibrillator gives staff and parents the reassurance that in the possible event of a sudden cardiac arrest, we now have the correct equipment in place to ensure that the best outcome is achievable.
“We are very grateful to HeartSine technologies for this generous donation and we hope it will inspire young entrepreneurs to pursue a career in medical science or electrical engineering in the future.”
HeartSine defibrillators are manufactured in Belfast and are available in over 30 languages. The easy to use automated device talks the responder through the ‘save’ process which can help keep the victim alive until professional medical assistance arrives at the scene.
The AED will be located in the Ballyclare High School premises located at 31 Rashee Road.
For more information about placing a HeartSine defibrillator in your community, please visit www.heartsine.com