CnES Sport and Health Section have teamed up with Skye based charity ‘Lucky2BHere’ to install defibrillators at a number of schools with significant sports facilities across the Outer Hebrides.
“It has been an aspiration for some time to have access to defibrillators on our sites with sports facilities,” said Tony Wade, CnES’s Sports Facilities Services Manager. “We have been working with Ross Cowie and the ‘Lucky2BHere’ team in Skye for some time and I am delighted that they have agreed to support the project.
“Ross is an inspirational personality who drives the charity forward whilst confronting a serious heart condition himself. We hope his story and the installation of the machines will kick start a process that will include young people and our communities getting involved with learning about emergency life support.”
As part of the process, volunteers from ‘Lucky2BHere’, who are in many cased highly qualified health care professionals, will deliver a 3 - 4 hour ‘Heartstart -Train The Trainer’s’ session, which will then allow these trained individuals to go out and teach adults and school children some of the key techniques in saving lives in an emergency.
Ross Cowie said: “We are delighted to support this important project. It has been proven that defibrillators can make the difference between life and death. We hope this is the start of a long and potentially lifesaving relationship with the Outer Hebrides!”
A ‘Heartstart - Train The Trainers’ session was recently held in Tarbert and a defibrillator is currently available in an outdoor cabinet at Sir E.Scott School, accessible to the community at all times. There will shortly be a number of additional devices available in locations around Harris.
Ross continued: “We will be installing machines at Castlebay Sports Centre in Barra, Lionacleit Sports Centre in Benbecula, Shawbost and Lionel Community Schools in Lewis and at Smith Avenue Outdoor Facility in Stornoway. This is in addition to the device that is already available at Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais.
“Our Lifeguards are trained in the use of these devices and we hope to have them operational as soon as possible. There is also a machine for use at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, our largest Secondary school. The next stage of the project will be to hold a training session in Lewis and start to spread the skills out into the community.”
“People can be apprehensive about using a defibrillator but once the training has been provided and they understand how the machine effectively talks you through the process, they gain confidence really quickly,” said Tony.
“In addition to the other skills that are learned on the course, this knowledge could be crucial in saving a life. The fact that our sports facilities are mainly housed in school buildings means that there is a ‘two for one’ benefit - the machines will be available to Sport and Health staff and to schools at all times.
“This type of project fits perfectly with ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ projects in schools too. In many European countries, this training is common and their success rate in resuscitation is significantly better as a result.
“We have had encouragement from the Comhairle’s Education and Children’s Services Department and great support from Head Teachers.
“NHS Western Isles have also been extremely supportive and some of their staff will be involved in future developments. We are looking forward to getting young people involved in training and engaged in fundraising to support such a worthwhile cause.
“Thanks again to Ross and the ‘Lucky2BHere’ team for all their support!”