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Extra care for young hearts

From left: Fernridge School pupils Ocean McRae and Claudia Garthwaite with Emma Lawler from Embracing Hearts [centre], and representatives from Heart Kids Wellington and Wellington Free Ambulance. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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A new lockbox defibrillator at Fernridge School in Masterton will bring “peace of mind” to parents of children with heart defects, and others in the community,

Embracing Hearts trustee Emma Lawler said it was the first automated external defibrillator [AED] which had been donated to a Wairarapa school, and one of 13 around the country.

“They are proven as an aid that can help when someone does go into heart failure.”

The charity organisation hopes to donate defibrillators to more schools around the country.

The donated defibrillators are “top of the line” and designed for safe and simple use by the first person at the scene of a sudden cardiac arrest.

Stored in a lockbox, they can be accessed through the AED Locations mobile phone app and an internal computer provides guidance on how to use it.

The nearest AED is located at the Mitre10 Mega store a few kilometres down the road.

“It’s peace of mind for the families of children with heart defects [who are] at the school,” Lawler said.

“It also means that anybody in the community or in the school has access to it.”

Fernridge School principal Janine Devenport agreed.

“It’s great now that there’s one closer,” she said. “We’ve got a couple of Heart Kids at school.

“It’s good for the community too.”

After a playground incident last year, attending paramedics told her it would be good to have an AED at hand.

She said the children were also excited to see an ambulance up close with Wellington Free Ambulance paramedics and Heart Kids Wellington representatives attending the handover ceremony.

The AED was made possible by a donation from the Buddle Findlay Child Health Foundation.

Heartbeat and Wellington Free Ambulance will provide ongoing education for the school and wider community plus any maintenance of the AED as needed.

  • More information about Embracing Hearts can be found on their givealittlepage or on facebook.com/pg/weareembracinghearts/

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