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Great Missenden school has pioneering heart defibrillator fitted
A SCHOOL in Great Missenden has become the first in the county to install a pioneering voice-assisted defibrillator.
The Gateway School has just been fitted with a DOC device, a wireless defibrillator which gives step-by-step instructions to the user while it is being operated.
Staff at the school are leading a campaign to have them installed at every educational establishment in the country.
School nurse Claire Nurse said: "We've always been very keen on first aid. We are aware of the importance of having one in a community setting - more and more places accessed to the public have them.
"We wanted to be setting the standard. Once the news is out there, other schools might sit up and take notice and think about what they are doing for the school community and the community they serve. We are taking our duty of care very seriously.
"The best thing about it is you can use it even if you're not trained. It's very simple and straightforward."
She added: "It would be a fantastic thing to see it installed in all schools."
Mrs Nurse said youngsters are becoming more aware of heart problems after a number of high-profile incidents.
Earlier this year footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed from a cardiac arrest on the pitch during an FA Cup tie and was kept alive by defibrillators during his journey to hospital.
Mrs Nurse said: "Awareness is growing in this area. The next generation of children are going to be the ones that will pick it up and be encouraged to use it. If you can raise the alarm you can save a life, it's as simple as that. They are growing up with it and taking responsibility. It's about being safe and looking after each other."
While it is in use the DOC connects to a helpdesk operator and gives a GPS grid reference, saving vital minutes when calling for an ambulance.
Headteacher Steve Wade added: "We hope also to extend the use of the defibrillator to the wider community in Great Missenden, if someone was to suffer a cardiac arrest close by to the school."
Meanwhile the Chiltern Hills Academy in Chesham also had a defibrillator installed this week after a fundraising campaign by its PTA.