THREE Flintshire schools have received defibrillators thanks to a lifesaving North Wales partnership project.

Save a Life Cymru aims to build on the existing experience of charities and other stakeholders to improve out of hospital cardiac arrest survival in Wales.

The North Wales Partners - Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board the Welsh Ambulance service NHS Trust, the Cardiac Charity SADS UK and Achub Calon Y Dyffryn - are working with schools across North Wales to teach lifesaving skills and provide fundraising packs, to enable schools to put defibrillators in place.

In one day alone members from the North Wales Partnership personally delivered defibrillators to three Flintshire schools - Ysgol y Llan Whitford, Ysgol Brynfford and Ysgol Rhos Helyg.

The defibrillators will be installed in cabinets outside the schools so that not only the school, but the whole community will have access to this lifesaving equipment in a cardiac arrest emergency.

A cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating due to a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system.

Anyone at any age, even children, can suffer a sudden cardiac arrest.

It is unpredictable and can strike at anytime, anywhere, without warning.

Starting CPR and using the defibrillator before the arrival of an ambulance increases the chance of survival dramatically.

For every minute that passes without defibrillation the chances of survival diminish by 10 per cent.

Tomos Hughes, who is a first responder for the Welsh Ambulance service and founder of Achub Calon Y Dyffryn, said: "Prompt transfer to hospital has been shown to improve a casualty’s chance of survival and is therefore an important link in the chain of survival.

"We provide training in lifesaving skills and the defibrillator completely free of charge.

"The goal being that AEDs are made available as widely as possible but especially in rural communities within North Wales so that if a person suffers a cardiac arrest, witnesses can carry out CPR and have easy access to a defibrillator to restart the victim’s heart and save their life."

The national Cardiac Charity SADS UK is supporting schools in North Wales to buy an AED by providing free fundraising packs, online fundraising platforms and promotional items to help the school raise the money they require.

Anne Jolly MBE, the founder of SADS UK said: “There is no doubt in my mind that the result of the North Wales partnership project will save more lives.

"SADS UK believes all schools should have defibrillators in place.

"Along with our partners, Nurse Julie Starling from Glan Clwyd Hospital, BCUHB, the Welsh Ambulance Service personnel and Tomos Hughes, we have spoken to health ministers and held receptions at the Welsh Assembly urging them to legislate for defibrillators to be made compulsory in all schools to save lives.

"Early administration of CPR and defibrillation is the most powerful combination in saving life.

"The charity is delighted to be supporting this important project, teaching lifesaving skills and providing information and assistance to help schools put a defibrillator on site."

Schools wishing to get involved, or looking for more information, can contact SADS UK by email (info@sadsuk.org) or phone 01277 811215.