Dagenham pupils raise money for school defibrillator
- Credit: Nick Pauro
Pupils at a Dagenham secondary school are potential lifesavers after raising money for a defibrillator.
The device was installed in All Saints Catholic School last week, with pupils taking part in a non-uniform day in order to raise the £1,000 it costs.
Assistant headteacher Nick Pauro explained that first aid has been a talking point at the school since December, when Year 8 pupil Ryan Moore used the training he had as an air cadet to save the life of classmate Harry Maxwell, who was choking on a cough sweet.
“The school council really wanted to get a defibrillator in case there was an emergency,” Nick said.
“They knew there were a few footballers who have had a cardiac arrest as well.”
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They then set about organising a non-uniform day during the last week of term, with pupils paying a pound to wear their own clothes. Assemblies were held to spread the word of the initiative and why having a defibrillator at school was important.
It is designed for anyone to use - including the Wood Lane school’s pupils and staff, if ever required - and has clear instructions for how to use it.
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Defibrillators are designed to give a high energy shock to people who have had a cardiac arrest - when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body.
The British Heart Foundation recommends calling 999 immediately if you witness someone having a cardiac arrest.
Having defibrillators in public places means the vital shock can be given as soon as possible - giving the patient the best chance possible of surviving.
Nick said: “It’s going to be kept in the reception so everyone knows where it is should they ever need to use it.
“If anything happens to a member of public outside the school, it’s there if needed as well.”
The introduction of the defibrillator coincides with pupils being given first aid training.
“We’re starting with Year 8, but everyone is going to learn it,” Nick said.
“A lot of staff have expressed an interest as well.
“The pupils are enjoying learning first aid skills and feel it fosters a sense of community and responsibility.”