Cheshire West and Chester councillors have unanimously voted to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest in young people and promote the importance of having defibrillators in all schools across the borough.

The all party motion, put forward by Cllr Nicole Meardon, Cabinet member for children and families, and seconded by Cllr Eleanor Johnson, was discussed at the full council meeting.

A leaflet, given to all 75 members, gave the stark statistics that 12 young people die each week from sudden cardiac arrest.

And 80% of young people who die from this have had no previous symptoms while immediate CPR and defibrillation increases the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest from 6% to 74%.

Cllr Meardon said that about 85 of the borough’s 150 plus schools have defibrillators and this is partly due to excellent work undertaken in local communities, by charities or local businesses, through members or also national campaigns. Those schools involved have also had training in first aid and basic life support.

Cllr Nicole Meardon
Cllr Nicole Meardon

Added Cllr Meardon: “What I would like to see is for all our schools to have defibrillators.

“It is really shocking that 12 young people a week in the UK lose their lives to sudden cardiac arrest.

“But what is really important here is that immediate CPR and defibrillation increases the rate of survival from 6% to 74%.

“Modern defibrillators are relatively inexpensive and safe and easy to use. They cannot be used in error so when operating these, people should not be worried.

“And it is not just defibrillators which are important but also the quality of first aid training.

“I think we all understand why this motion is so very, very important.”

Direct appeal

Cllr Johnson made a direct appeal to any local companies and newspapers that are willing to run a campaign for funding, to contact the two councillors.

"I would very much like to see a defibrillator in every school in Cheshire West and Chester,” continued Cllr Johnson, “and that all staff and pupils have the necessary training but I very much hope that the equipment never has to be used.

“Myself and two of my granddaughters aged 8 and 10 really enjoyed the evening when we trained to use defibrillators.

“Manchester went down this route last year and in the first few weeks four pupils who may have died were saved by using the defibrillators in their schools.”