Drainage specialist Lanes Group plc has donated a heart defibrillator to one of the largest primary schools in Solihull.
Nearly 700 children and 90 staff, plus many hundreds of other people who visit Valley Primary School, in Solihull, every week now have additional protection against sudden cardiac arrest.
As well as donating the defibrillator, Lanes Group, the UK’s largest independent drainage company, has paid for eight adults to be trained to use it, and for 30 children to receive basic life-saving training.
An estimated 12 people aged under the age of 35 die in the UK from sudden cardiac arrest every week, and on average five of those deaths happen in schools.
Helen Hall, a high-level teaching assistant and the medical officer at Valley Primary School, the largest primary school in Solihull, said being offered the defibrillator was a “fantastic opportunity”.
She added: “This is the sort of emergency medical aid that any school would want to have, if its budget allowed. To have one donated to us by Lanes Group is brilliant, and our school community will be delighted.
“We hope we never have to use it. But our children, teachers and the many hundreds of parents, grandparents and other people who visit the school every week now have the added benefit of this key medical resource.”
Under its Saving Lives is Close to Our Heart programme, Lanes Group is working with national charity Hand on Heart to donate defibrillators and provide training, together worth £3,000, to schools located close to its depots and service hubs across the UK.
The devices work by giving the patient an electric shock designed to restore a regular beat to a heart that has become arrhythmic, or chaotic, causing sudden cardiac arrest.
Valley Primary School was nominated to receive the device by Ami Beveridge, whose son, Ethan, aged nine, attends the school. Ami works as a customer service co-ordinator for UKDN Waterflow (LG) Ltd, part of Lanes Group, at its national customer centre, based at Birmingham Business Park.
Ami said: “I’m really glad all the children at Valley Primary School will have this defibrillator. Ethan has asthma, so, while I hope he never has a sudden cardiac arrest, I know the value of a school having as much medical help as it can to protect lives of children in their care.”
UKDN Waterflow (LG) Director Andy Jackson said: “We’re very pleased we can help safeguard the lives of so many children and adults. Defibrillators are very easy to use and have proven, time and again, to save lives.
“Children and young people are at particular risk from sudden cardiac arrest because they often show no signs of being susceptible to the condition. So, it can strike, out of the blue, with devastating consequences.”
Valley Primary is based on two sites, with the juniors in Old Lode Lane, and the infants in nearby Fallowfield Road. Because they are so close together, both will benefit from the defibrillator’s presence.
Helen Hall said: “Having this defibrillator will help raise awareness of heart health among pupils, staff, and parents, as well as give parents assurance that we’re doing all we can to keep their children safe.
“This term, some of our pupils have been learning basic life-saving skills. Our young people are being taught that we can’t take our health for granted. Having a defibrillator on site reflects that thinking, as well.”
Valley Primary School Headteacher Roberta Narroway said: “We’re delighted that Lanes Group has donated this defibrillator to our school. I would also like to thank Ami Beveridge for thinking to nominate us to receive it.”