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North Lanarkshire plans to put defibrillators in schools

Defibrillator units are to be installed in all secondary schools in North Lanarkshire by next March, the local authority has announced.

The life-saving heart resuscitation equipment will be placed in all 24 high schools as part of the council's Heartstart Schools Programme. It is the first initiative of its kind in a local authority in Scotland.

"After someone has a cardiac arrest, every minute that passes without defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by 10 per cent," Jim Logue, North Lanarkshire Council's convener of learning and leisure services, said.

The Scottish Ambulance Service will be training teachers in how to use the equipment, as well as in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Amy Gibson, community engagement officer with the service, said: "Emergency situations are time critical and this equipment will help save lives. We are extremely pleased to help support the council in providing defibrillators in secondary schools."

All secondary schools had nominated Heartstart coordinators and installing defibrillators is a natural progression of the Heartstart schools programme, according to council education officer David Craig.

Heartstart was launched in 2008 and teaches young people basic life-saving skills. It is delivered in partnership with the British Heart Foundation and NHS Lanarkshire, and more than 100 schools are now affiliated.

Installation of the automatic electronic defibrillator units will be completed by the end of March 2014 at a total cost of #163;70,000. The project is part-funded by NHS Scotland and public services provider Amey, which provides local road maintenance, street lighting and winter services in partnership with the council.

Its business director Stephen Munro said that with more than 300,000 sudden cardiac arrests in the UK each year, the company was "very pleased to support the council with this initiative".

julia.belgutay@tess.co.uk.

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