Tina Maretic is the founder of Fran’s Adolescent Cardiac Trust (FACT) and has been campaigning to put defib machines in schools after her daughter suffered an undiagnosed cardiac problem aged just 14 years old. Fran is now a healthy 19-year-old because, Tina says, “she was one of the lucky ones”.
The Isle of Wight Ambulance Service and Isle of Wight NHS Trust have secured funding to place Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in all secondary schools and certain primary schools and are providing training for teachers and ultimately older pupils.
Machines already in schools
Ryde Academy and Christ The King College have already accepted machines and the first primary school is about to receive an AED too.
Tina Maretic told Isle Of Wight Radio:
Absolutely fantastic. Brilliant news. I thought it was just myself trying to put these machines out. I just can’t put it into words. There was nobody in the room. I just went crazy by myself saying what fantastic news.
Louise Walker is from the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service’s Commercial Training Department. She says teachers are being trained to use the life-saving kit:
What we’re aiming to do is train as many people as possible.
You can use a defibrillator without training. What you’ll have to do is just make sure you’re on the phone to the Isle of Wight ambulance service and they’ll give you clear guidance how to use the shock box.
It is time critical. If someone has a cardiac arrest and they’re in a shockable rhythm we need to defibrillate within minutes. Every minute we delay, their chance of survival decreases by 10%.
The AEDs talk users through the process and will detect heartbeats, ensuring that a patient doesn’t receive a shock if it isn’t needed.
Tina’s FACT continues to work with the national cardiac charity SADS UK. She says she will continue to fundraise to help the NHS provide AEDs on the Island and beyond.
Contact the NHS
Louise Walker said:
“The Isle of Wight Ambulance Commercial Training department offers high quality, flexible and professional training. The income generated from our training courses is then put towards purchasing new equipment for our local community and help fund projects such as defibrillators in our schools.
“For further information on the training courses we offer and to discuss how we can tailor courses to meet your needs please call us or email firstname.lastname@example.org”
For more information or to apply for an AED and training contact the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service on 01983 534111.