Northern Ireland news

'No plans' to introduce defibrillators in schools after Lisburn lightning strike

Education minister Peter Weir has "no plans" to place defibrillators at schools in Northern Ireland
Gareth McKeown

THERE are no plans for a widespread roll-out of defibrillators at schools, education minister Peter Weir has said.

Defibrillators are an "optional addition" to first aid provision in schools, the minister said in response to an assembly question from Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson.

"The decision of a school to acquire a defibrillator and train staff in its use is a matter for each school. I have no plans to place a requirement upon schools to have a defibrillator on site but will keep the issue under review," he said.

Parents and teachers at Killowen PS in Lisburn had to use the defibrillator when George Allen (36), his son Geordie (5) and daughter Georgha (7) were injured in a lightning storm in June.

The family said "it should be standard that all schools have a defibrillator with the hope that they would never need to use it".

Mr Allen, who has been hospital since the incident, is now out of a coma.

Martina McConville, chair of Defibs4kidsNI, said she was "disappointed".

She has called for all secondary school pupils in Northern Ireland to learn basic CPR training as part of the curriculum.

"I think if Stormont at least backed us and made CPR training a compulsory thing in the curriculum you would see people taking it up more. Two hours in a children's curriculum once a year is nothing," she said.

"It is an expensive exercise (to buy a defibrillator), but they don't have a problem ensuring every building is fitted with fire extinguishers."

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