Belfast Telegraph

Brave little boy who helped save his granny's life excited at launch of new defibrillator guidelines for our schools

By Rebecca Black

A ten-year-old boy who helped saved his grandmother's life has spoken about his excitement at potentially becoming a lifesaver again.

Eoin Millar from Lambeg had been watching TV last year when his granny Sheila suddenly collapsed.

The cool-headed youngster – aged just nine at the time – rang 999 and talked his mum through how to provide CPR to his granny as they waited for an ambulance.

"I was just happy to help," said Eoin, whose grandmother survived thanks to his quick thinking.

The St Colman's, Lambeg, pupil told the Belfast Telegraph yesterday that he was "very excited" to learn how to use a defibrillator so that in future he might be able to save someone else's life.

Eoin was just one of the guests at the Long Gallery in Stormont as Education Minister John O'Dowd launched the first guidelines for schools on the use of defibrillators.

The advice means that schools can now source approved defibrillators at a reduced rate and access training on how to use them as well as CPR.

In the past, defibrillators had cost more than £1,000. Now schools can buy approved models recommended by the boards for £595.

One of Eoin's teachers at St Colman's, Art Kernan, is also the founder of Defibs4Kids which aims to see all schools equipped with defibrillators.

The campaign was inspired by another student at the school, Eoghan McConville (10), who was born with a heart condition and underwent open-heart surgery when he was just four.

St Colman's have two defibrillators on site and have trained all the staff – from the caretaker to teachers – as well as parents how to use them.

Children at the school will be trained next.

Both of the boys were singled out and honoured by Mr O'Dowd at the launch of the guidelines yesterday.

"For boys this age to display so much courage is truly inspiring and such stories bring into sharp focus how essential it is to be prepared for such incidents," he said.

"St Colman's is just one example of a local school which has ensured that it has a defibrillator on site so that it can respond to the needs of its pupils."

Background

The first defibrillator guidelines for schools do not insist that every school must have one of the devices, but smoothes the process for acquiring one. The new guidelines clearly set out the issues which schools should consider in deciding whether to purchase a defibrillator. Also, contracts have been awarded to enable schools to buy defibrillators at a reduced rate and to secure essential training in the use of the defibrillator and CPR technique.

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