Ffynone House School has marked European Restart a Heart Day for a number of years but today’s event had an even greater significance. This is because we are now the proud hosts of an Automated External Defibrillator. This vital piece of life-saving equipment is available for the use of the local community as well as the school. The A.E.D. was donated by charity Cariad and the funds raised by our activities today will go towards repaying the £1000 that it cost.
8000 people every year suffer a cardiac arrest outside of the hospital environment in Wales. At present, the survival rate is just 3%. Cariad is a local charity who aim to change this statistic. It was set up in 2013 to raise awareness and funding to provide schools and communities with defibrillators and life-saving training.
To date, Cariad has supplied over 500 defibrillators and continue to work closely with the Welsh Ambulance Service and the Community First Response Team. More recently they have formed a partnership with Wales Fire and Rescue with the aim of providing every one of their vehicles with AEDs. Not only have they provided the school with a defibrillator, but they have also run engaging and informative training sessions for all our staff and sixth form students. They will return later in the year to give training to our younger pupils and the local community.
Head of PSHE, Mrs Walsh (pictured here with Anthony Hamilton-Shaw of Cariad), has spearheaded the campaign to house an AED at Ffynone House. She explained that she came across the statistics for cardiac arrests in young people when planning our PSHE schemes of work last year. “The numbers alarmed me, especially being a mum of two and a teacher. I knew we, as a school, needed to do more.” PC Craig Hadley kindly put us in touch with Cariad. In very short space of time, Cariad and Ffynone agreed to work together in protecting our students, staff and the local community.
European Restart a Heart Day
European Restart a Heart Day takes place on the 16th of October every year. The campaign aims to create awareness that everyone can learn CPR and to facilitate BLS courses in schools and public locations. At Ffynone House, First Aid Training is central to our wider study programme; all our students will have a secure knowledge of the basic First Aid Protocol by the end of their first year with us. In the run up to October 16th, Miss Prosser, our Sports and First Aid Coordinator, has been running CPR refresher sessions across the school. As part of their revision, students have been designing new logos and business cards to raise awareness of the First Aid Protocol.
The Compression Challenge
Our fundraising took a number of different forms. Firstly, students were asked for a £2 donation in order to wear an item of red, non-uniform clothing for the day. Secondly, the ever-popular cake stall made an appearance at lunchtime with some delicious homemade treats on offer in exchange for a donation.
However, our main event was the Compression Challenge in which staff and students had to maintain CPR on a ‘Little Annie’ dummy for half of the school day. Slots were two minutes each and sponsorship had been duly collected by each volunteer. The song ‘Stayin’ Alive’ was on repeat in the hall to provide the correct rhythm for CPR and Mr Boulding and Mrs Walsh were on hand to provide advice about technique. Classmates offered one another support and encouragement throughout the day; there was a real sense of our Ffynone Family working together towards a common goal.
Of course, we hope never to make use of our newest piece of equipment. Nevertheless, it is good to know that if the need did arise, anyone in our building could facilitate the necessary life-saving treatment in minutes. This was indeed an incredibly worthwhile day.