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Education needed for ‘heart-save’ zones

KYALAMI - Kyalami is increasingly becoming a 'heart-save zone' but this needs to spread to more areas.

Kyalami Preparatory School was the latest school to receive an automated external defibrillator, named Samaritan PAD, as part of the Sere-med initiative. It is an automatic device that can shock, revive, monitor and restore a heart’s normal rhythm if a person is in cardiac arrest.

Managing director of Sere-med Gary Page said, “When a person goes into cardiac arrest, they basically have ten minutes to live, so time is of the essence. It is not always possible for paramedics to arrive in time, but a defibrillator will give a person a meaningful chance of survival,” said Page.

Pick n Pay Kyalami, Flight Centre Kyalami, Grand Central Motors and Health-Worx Medical Centre, Carlswald, contributed to the device for the school.

Kyalami Preparatory School’s headmaster Victor White said he was grateful for the businesses’ generosity and help to make the school ‘heart-save’.

“We never know what might happen at the school on a day-to-day basis. People are always on our campus, from pupils and staff to parents and visitors. It is great to know that we have the defibrillator if it is ever needed,” said White. He added the school’s staff were trained in first aid every two years, and while the school had never experienced an incident where a defibrillator was needed, he recognised the importance of having the device.

Six staff members would be trained to use the defibrillator but it can be used by anyone as it has voice prompts and it will be stored in an accessible place.

Page was ecstatic that Kyalami Preparatory School was open to receive the defibrillator, when so many Johannesburg schools rejected it.

“Out of shear desperation to get schools to be ‘heart-save’, I have asked companies to sponsor defibrillators for schools, because finance is sometimes an obstacle, but people need to be educated on the importance of defibrillators. Parents should question their children’s schools on why they do not have one as safety must come first. There is no excuse for any school not to have one,” said Page.

Details: Gary Page gary@seremed.co.za

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