It follows the death of 12 year old Oliver King in Childwall last year
Every primary school in Liverpool is to receive a defibrillator as part of a campaign in memory of a schoolboy who died of a heart condition.
The £100,000 project is believed to be the first scheme of its type in the country, and will see the life saving devices fitted in 122 schools over the next academic year. Training will also be provided to school staff.
It follows the death of Oliver King, a pupil at King David High School in Childwall, in March 2011. He died during a swimming lesson from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS).
It is the same medical condition that struck former Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba last season and has forced his retirement from the game. It is estimated that 270 children die of a sudden cardiac arrest while at school in the UK every year.
Oliver’s family believe that if a defibrillator had been available, the 12 year old’s heart could have been restarted.
The Oliver King Foundation, launched in his memory, aims to get the Government to install defibrillators in all public buildings by 2017. It is also calling for ECG scans to be given to all 14 – 35 year olds so that they can be screened for the potentially fatal condition.
The campaign has already won the backing of Mayor Joe Anderson, comedian Stephen Fry, actress Dame Helen Mirren, Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.
Oliver’s dad Mark said: "I am delighted that primary schools in the city are having defibrillators fitted.
"This is fantastic news and I firmly believe that it will help save lives.
"We must do all we can to raise awareness of SADS and prevent as many deaths as we can. There are no warning signs and it could happen to anyone’s child.
"We need to have defibrillators in all public buildings to make sure that Oliver’s death was not in vain.”
Mayor Anderson said: "I am really pleased that our primary schools are leading the way by installing defibrillators.
"The Oliver King Foundation is doing great work highlighting awareness of this issue, and I am 100 percent behind them.”
A first aid scheme in which 14-16 year old pupils at King David High School have been taught how to use a defibrillator and perform CPR has proved a success.
And the city council has purchased defibrillators for each of its Citysafe vehicles, as well as the Cruise Liner Terminal.
The purchase of the defibrillators follows a proposal by Liverpool Primary Headteachers’ Association which was agreed by the Schools Forum, which comprises headteachers and education officials.
Click play to hear from patron of the OK Foundation, Councillor Jake Morrison...
Councillor Jake Morrison, Patron of The Oliver King Foundation, said: "This is a fantastic achievement for The Oliver King Foundation, which was only set up eight months ago.
"Our schools are at the heart of our communities, and this equipment will be of benefit to us all.
"If this scheme saves one child's live, it will have been worth all the effort."
Rachel Rick, Chair of Liverpool Primary Schools Association and Head of King David Primary School - which Oliver used to attend, said: "Oliver’s death was a great tragedy and brought home to us all the devastating consequences of this condition.
"We have already installed defibrillators at the King David campus and I am delighted that other primary schools across the city will also benefit.”
An e-petition calling on Government to debate the dangers of SAD in the House of Commons has received thousands of signatures, but many more are needed. It can be found by visiting epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/29399
For more information about the Oliver King Foundation, visit www.theoliverkingfoundation.co.uk
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