Pupils will now have access to life-saving equipment as Steyning Area First Responders (SAFeR) have installed a defibrillator at the entrance to a school.
As part of a proactive initiative by SAFeR, Steyning Grammar School now has a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) at its entrance on Shooting Field.
The equipment will also benefit St Andrews Primary School, which shares the same site.
Martin Leigh-Pollitt, chairman of SAFeR, said: “We have also entered into a partnership with Steyning Grammar School to give sixth form students an opportunity to attend sessions which provide an introduction to lifesaving skills; not only in the use of the PADs and chest compressions but being able to recognise, where possible, how to treat someone having an asthma attack and anaphylaxis.”
Steyning Area First Responders are local volunteers who provide an essential immediate service to support the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb).
Ambulances are not always in close proximity to answer emergency calls in rural areas like Steyning, Bramber and Upper Beeding, and because responders are already living or working in the community, they can get to the location vital minutes earlier.
It is in this time slot that lives can sometimes be saved – and patients’ chances of recovery can be significantly increased.
Mr Leigh-Pollitt continued: “I am delighted that our team comprising Nikki McIvor, Christine Peters and Tom Davies have been able to find the time to run these sessions.
“It is vital that young members of our community feel confident to act in an emergency.
“Effective action using a Defibrillator and CPR, immediately after a sudden cardiac arrest can double the chance of survival.”
Nick Wergan, the Head Teacher of Steyning Grammar School, said: “We are very grateful to Steyning Area First Responders for the equipment itself, and the training support for our students in such vital first aid skills.
“The positioning of the defibrillator is ideal for our schools and the wider community around Shooting Field; this is a really good example of joined-up community work, and whilst we hope the equipment is never needed, speed and knowledge are of the essence if it is.”
Mr Leigh-Pollitt added: “The sound of ambulances in the area is not uncommon and if someone is having a heart attack, minutes really do count. If defibrillation is given quickly, about 50 per cent of those having a cardiac arrest can be resuscitated.”
Responders are fully trained by SECAmb in the use of defibrillators. The SAFeR Trust paid for the equipment, which was installed by Steyning Grammar School.