Why defibrillators are critical in schools

As a teacher or parent, your main concerns are child health, well-being and safety.

Did you know that 12 young people die each week due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and of these, 270 deaths happen at school each year in the UK?

These statistics may come as a surprise to you but this is the reality we’re living in. Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the world’s biggest killer which strikes people of all ages. A cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any age, height, size or gender which is what makes it so frightening. There doesn’t have to be any pre-existing heart conditions or family heart problems. You could be the healthiest, energetic person and still you can be struck suddenly.

For every minute that passes during an SCA attack without intervention, chances of survival drop by 10%. The only real chance of survival from SCA is a quick response with CPR and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The chain of survival is the most important procedure to follow. Immediate access to a defibrillator is imperative for survival. If a defibrillator is used and CPR is performed within 3-5 minutes, survival chances increase from 6% to 74%. The quicker the treatment is provided, the higher the survival rate.

Average ambulance response times in the UK are 11 minutes. Last year, the Guardian published statistics which stated that ambulances in the UK failed to reach 75% of their most serious 999 calls within 8 minutes. How far away is your local hospital? Can an ambulance realistically reach the patient to defibrillate early? If this starts to ring alarm bells it shows you that an on-site AED is essential to give the patient the best chance of survival.

Playing sports in schools is actively encouraged from an early age and this can increase the risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Active young children are vulnerable to Commotio Cordis which affects their developing hearts and softer chest wall which is still growing and strengthening. No matter how small the risk may be, having a defibrillator in schools ensures protection against SCA. Schools need to be providing the best equipment available for a cardiac emergency for both children and staff.

AEDs can play a vital role in saving the lives of pupils, staff and other users on the school premises. The Department of Education is encouraging all schools to consider purchasing these devices as part of their first-aid equipment.

For less than £1,000 you can give your school, it’s children, staff and visitors the best chance of survival against Sudden Cardiac Arrest with a lifesaving defibrillator. Click here to find out more.

Workplace Environments: Why having an AED on-site should be your PLAN A!

The HSE have revised the Emergency First Aid and First Aid at Work syllabuses following the changes to Resuscitation Council UK guidelines on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in October 2015. The revision requires all workplace first aiders to be trained in the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from the 31 December 2016. This meets the Resuscitation Council UK guidelines which now state that the management of a casualty requiring CPR is to request an AED.

More and more organisations and public areas have a defibrillator so it is great news that even more people will be trained to use them. As an organisation, you do not have to buy a defibrillator unless your first aid needs assessment shows a need for one.

How to assess the need for an AED – based on 2 variables;

1. The likelihood of cardiac arrest occurring

The risk of an arrest occurring varies according to several factors, each of which should be considered.

  • • The number of people passing through the site/footfall. In most cases, the larger the number present, the greater the risk.
  • • The age of those present (as cardiac arrest is commoner with increasing age).
  • • The nature of the location. Some places are higher risk than others. Experience has shown that where large numbers of the public are present in busy places like transport hubs (e.g. airports and railway stations) cardiac arrests are more likely to occur. In other places, the nature of the work undertaken (e.g. the use of toxic chemicals) may be relevant to deciding on the need to invest in an AED.


2. The consequences (severity) of cardiac arrest occurring
However, cardiac arrest is uniformly fatal (unless treated). Even if resuscitation is successful, the impact on the individual will be significant, for example, they will be in hospital for some time and will probably require additional clinical interventions, Common causes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest include: Asphyxiation, drowning, circulation problems, electrocution, heart diseases, hypothermia, metabolic changes, respiratory problems and trauma to the chest.

Statistics for workplace fatalities/injuries:

  • • 137 workers killed at work in 2016/17 (The majority of which were in the construction, agriculture, waste, transport and storage industries.)
  • • 92 members of the public were killed due to work related activities in 2016/17
  • • In 2015/16 An estimated 621,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury at work according to self-reports. (Labour Force Survey – LFS). Of these injuries:
    – 200,000 led to over 3 days absence from work; of which
    – 152,000 led to over 7 days absence

Having an AED on site is your PLAN A!

The best chance of successful resuscitation will be when defibrillation and other first aid procedures are carried out with the minimum delay (ideally within in the first three minutes). The chances of survival fall by at least 10% with every minute that passes without defibrillation so there is a very real advantage in having an AED available on site. Figures of 75% survival rates have been reported when defibrillation is performed within three minutes of someone collapsing, a time frame rarely possible for the ambulance service who aim to reach the majority of urgent calls within eight minutes. Last year “The Independent” reported that Ambulances in the UK failed to reach 75% of their most serious 999 calls within 8 minutes meaning that having an AED on site gives you and your workforce the best chance of survival in the event of a cardiac arrest.

REMEMBER – Time is of the essence in a resuscitation scenario.

To discuss how Martek Lifecare can help you create a safer worker environment please click here.

Debunking Myths About Defibrillators: Could You Save a Life Under Pressure?


Defibrillators often remind people of watching medical dramas such as Casualty or ER – the patient stops breathing and as the tension mounts, nurses or doctors place paddles onto the chest and administer an electric shock which makes the patient bounce vertically in the air. Because of these memories, most people are wary of defibrillators, yet they are critical to the survival of someone experiencing cardiac arrest.

Continue reading “Debunking Myths About Defibrillators: Could You Save a Life Under Pressure?”

Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Running Away from the Risks

When many people think about defibrillators, they think of heart attack patients, yet defibrillators are actually used for patients who are suffering from cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is when your heart stops pumping blood around your body. This can be as a result of a heart attack, yet is more often unexpected in the form of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or SCA. SCA is an arrhythmia, an abnormal heartbeat- which causes the heart’s normal rhythm to suddenly become chaotic. The heart can no longer pump oxygenated blood effectively around the body and the victim collapses, becomes unresponsive, and stops breathing. Sudden Cardiac Arrest accounts for around half of all heart disease fatalities.

Continue reading “Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Running Away from the Risks”

“Win a Defib” Competition Winner

Martek Lifecare would like to thank everyone who entered our most recent competition to win a life saving defibrillator worth £1,000.

Congratulations to Michelle Ashwell who is our lucky winner! Michelle received her Lifeline Defibrillator last week where she presented it to the Leavesden Juniors Parkrun.

Continue reading ““Win a Defib” Competition Winner”

Nottinghamshire Council – leading the way against the World’s biggest killer!

Nottinghamshire County Council has invested in automated external defibrillators (AEDs) from MARTEK LIFECARE for their residential homes and day service establishments.  The AED’s were provided by MARTEK LIFECARE the exclusive UK partner of the DEFIBTECH range in the UK.

Continue reading “Nottinghamshire Council – leading the way against the World’s biggest killer!”

Campaign For Greater Awareness Of Defibrillators

One town in the UK is launching a campaign to raise awareness of all the locations where defibrillators are installed.

The Southport Visiter revealed that there were 180 cardiac arrests in Southport in 2016, and noted that concerns have been raised that lives could be lost not because defibrillators aren’t available, but because people don’t know where they’re installed.

Continue reading “Campaign For Greater Awareness Of Defibrillators”

New Automatic Defibrillator For Sarum St Paul’s School

Students and staff members at Sarum St Paul’s School in Salisbury have just been provided with a new automatic defibrillator as a key part of its first aid equipment.

Head Lizzie Weavers told the Salisbury Journal that the School Council recognised just how important it was to have a defibrillator on site and were incredibly driven where their fundraising efforts were concerned, raising more than £1,400 for the device.

“We are delighted to launch our school and local community defibrillator. This was paid for through fundraising events organised and led by our School Council,” she went on to say.

Staff have also been given training as to how to use the defibrillator, with South Western Ambulance Service coming to the school on June 26th to show them how it can be used in the event of a cardiac arrest.

Defibrillators work by restoring the heart rhythm if someone does go into cardiac arrest. The earlier it is used, the better the person in question has of surviving.

It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that while training is essential you can use these devices if you haven’t had any. You can’t shock someone accidentally if their heart is beating normally and modern devices have been designed so that even if you’ve had no medical training you can still use them.

The pads come with a diagram on them to show you where to put them on the body and a voice prompt will come on to talk you through the steps of using the machine.

Have you considered an AED for your organisation? Contact one of our account managers to discuss how we can help.

AEDs Now In All Outer Hebrides Schools

Every school in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides now has an automated external defibrillator (AED) installed, it has been announced.

The Stornoway Gazette reported on the development, noting that Scottish charity Lucky2BHere was behind the process of installing defibrillators in all the locations.

In addition to providing the devices, the charity has also been running defibrillator training sessions with children at the schools, with 874 pupils having received emergency life support training to date.

There are just four schools across the islands that have yet to receive training, although this will be delivered at some point in the future.

Speaking to the news provider, Angus McCormack, chair of the Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee, commented: “This is an important development in providing lifesaving equipment and skills in our schools and also within our communities. I am delighted at the progress made on this initiative.”

The grant payment to Lucky2BHere, which has allowed the charity to carry out its work, was only approved in June 2016, so this is an impressive achievement in 12 months.

At the time that the £30,000 payment was approved, councillor Catriona Stewart highlighted the importance of having defibrillators available for the community, noting that all the new devices would be installed on the outside of school buildings to ensure they were available at any time and to anyone who needed them.

The founder of Lucky2BHere Ross Cowie knows just how important quick intervention is following cardiac arrest. He launched the charity after suffering a cardiac arrest himself and only being saved because an ambulance was close by at the time.

Have you considered running AED training at your organisation? Contact one of our account managers to discuss how we can help.

Lightning Strike Dad Campaigns For Defibrillators

A father who was struck by lightning at a school sports day last year is campaigning for more defibrillators to be installed across Northern Ireland, particularly in primary schools.

The Belfast Telegraph reported on Geordie Allen’s story, who miraculously survived a lightning strike in 2016.

He had been attending a school sports day with two of his children, who were aged five and seven, when a sudden storm came in and he was struck by lightning. Both his children were injured in the strike, but he was in a coma for a month and lost parts of his memory when he first regained consciousness.

His wife Sharon explained that the staff at the school were amazing on the day and that the only reason he survived was because they had access to a defibrillator, which was installed at the school.

“If we didn’t have those defibrillators that day he wouldn’t be sitting here. I would have lost my husband and the kids would have lost their father,” she told the newspaper.

As a result, the couple are now starting a campaign for more defibrillators to be installed around Northern Ireland, in the hopes of saving more lives and helping other families avoid tragedy.

Belfast Live recently revealed that the pilot scheme to introduce more public-access defibrillators in the city is set to be extended.

The city council has received a substantial donation from the Murphy family, who have raised funds in memory of Mark Murphy, to provide a number of new AEDs throughout Belfast.

Have you considered running defibrillator training at your organisation? Contact one of our account managers to discuss how we can help.