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Health / SIC committed to defibrillator training for all secondary pupils

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant with her emergency life saving certificate.

SHETLAND Islands Council says it has no plans to install defibrillators in secondary schools – but it confirmed it is committed to providing training to all pupils in the use of the life-saving equipment before they leave school.

There are currently more than 60 defibrillators available across Shetland with more set to be installed in the new year at a number of public buildings, including local halls.

The council responded to a call from Highlands and Islands list MSP Rhoda Grant who had contacted the local authority as part of her awareness campaign to encourage people to undertake emergency life saving training (ELS) and to have defibrillators installed in local communities.

A defibrillator is an easy to use, life-saving device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone suffering from a cardiac arrest.

The Labour MSP said: “There does not appear to be a nationwide consensus on installing defibrillators in all schools and it would still be for a council or individual school to decide.

“Some local authorities in Scotland have already committed to fit defibrillators in their secondary schools and I am therefore contacting councils in our region in a bid to encourage them to follow suit.

“I’ve read that in a recent survey three quarters of people said they wouldn’t be confident to act if they saw someone having a cardiac arrest. So, more training and greater awareness can change that and save more lives.”

A spokeswoman for the SIC responded: “Shetland currently has over 60 defibrillators, including one at the Anderson High School Halls of Residence, with more purchased for a number of public buildings and facilities around the isles to be installed in the new year.

“The council has no plans to install defibrillators at local secondary schools; however, our secondary schools are committed to carrying out training with all pupils in the use of this equipment before they leave school.

“This may be done through the curriculum, wider achievement or health week as each school deems appropriate.”

Grant said: “When it was announced in April this year that each of Scotland’s 32 local authorities had pledged to ensure that every secondary pupil will now leave school having been trained in life saving CPR, I was absolutely delighted as this will undoubtedly save lives.

“I understand pupils are eager to take up the ELS training and I would like to further encourage this by having defibrillators on site at schools in our region.”

This link to the Scottish Ambulance Service website gives access to a list of ‘Public Access Defibrillators’ across Scotland. It is not organised by local authorities and has just 28 entries for Shetland: https://scottishamb-newsroom.prgloo.com/facts-and-figures/public-access-defibrillators