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DISTANCE MATTERS IN SCHOOLS’ EMERGENCY CARE

Despite government funding defibrillation equipment in every state school, a national charity is questioning whether school leaders are giving effective consideration as to how and where such equipment might be needed.


There can hardly be a school in the country that does not have the vital equipment, designed to be used when a student, staff member or visitor has either a cardiac arrest, or symptoms than imply some form of serious circulatory problem. Often for the best centrally-accessible reasons portable equipment is most commonly kept in the school office. Ease of access is vital, as a delay of starting defibrillation of anything over four minutes, means that the full recovery of an individual young person or adult is dramatically reduced.

The majority of heart-related incidents in schools are connected to the playing of fast moving and strenuous sports, and is so many schools where playing fields, boat houses or gyms may be some distance from the school office, the risks of equipment arriving too late to be useful or potentially lifesaving is considerable.


The national charity RALPHH is so concerned by this possibility that it is increasing its support for schools deciding that they must improve their safety in sports locations. This support takes the form of either grants towards the cost of equipment that is both secure and weatherproof, or in the gifting of more portable equipment, which can also be taken off-premises by a staff member as and when the school is playing away from its home base. 

In recent times RALPHH has provided help to schools and colleges who have recognized that this is an important issue. The large playing fields attached to Diss High School in Norfolk were some distance from the main school buildings, so the senior staff were alert to the risks when asking RALPHH for assistance. Similarly, Queen’s Park High School, in Chester saw that rowers using their boathouse at the other end of their street were exposed to a possible problem on land and in the water. Once again RALPHH provided assistance. Other examples have included both a further education college and a secondary school in Devon.


“What concerns us is that so many schools have formed a view that now they have a defibrillator on their premises that has been provided with government funding this is yesterday’s issue,” says Richard Allen, Chairman of the charity. “This is not the case and the proper care and safeguarding of all on school premises needs to take much more account of the size of the estate and the layout of buildings. 


“We at RALPHH are ready to help, which can often be achieved with no drawing on precious school funds”


The charity was formed in 2018 following the sudden death of a national schools’ sporting champion and has also assisted sporting clubs across the length of England – most recently a sailing club in King’s Lynn, a hockey club in Gateshead and a rowing club on the Isle of Wight.


Richard, RALPHH founder, at Diss High School.


Further information is available by contacting RALPHH on 0794 9466795 or emailing Richard Allen or richardallen52@btinternet.com 

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