Lord Provost supports Paul's life-saving gift

Lord Provost Frank Ross lent his support to the installation of a defibrillator at Carrick Knowe Primary School in Edinburgh today (Wednesday 30 May).

The defibrillator, which delivers an electric shock to restart the heart of someone who has gone into cardiac arrest, could be used on either adults or children in an emergency.

Carrick Knowe defib

The device is the seventh to be donated by cardiac arrest survivor Paul Burns as part of the St John and the City project, which has so far seen more than 135 publicly accessible defibrillators placed across the city.

Kind-hearted donor Paul, 57, collapsed while playing football at Hibs’ training ground two years ago. He was brought back to life by the quick use of CPR and a defibrillator, but was lucky to survive. Currently, only around one in 20 people who have a cardiac arrest make it as far as being discharged from hospital.

Using a defibrillator alongside CPR can greatly increase survival rates, so the football fan was keen to see more of the devices made available to the public. He’s gone on to raise more than £13,000 to fund defibrillators across the city.

On Wednesday, Lord Provost Frank Ross, a long-time supporter of St John and the City, will join Paul to hand over the defibrillator to pupils from the school. He will also join P5 pupils to learn CPR, in lessons provided by St John Scotland volunteers.

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Frank Ross said: “This is yet another impressive addition to St John and the City’s ever growing map of public access defibrillators. We have seen people from all walks of life and all areas of Edinburgh join forces to fundraise and pledge support, and I’m very thankful to cardiac arrest survivor Paul Burns for this generous donation to Carrick Knowe Primary School. 

“The life-saving device will, of course, serve the whole school community and will be constantly serviced so that it can be used at a moment’s notice. Learning how to use one is easy – even these primary pupils have been shown how it’s done!”

Paul Burns is pleased to see his latest gift installed at the school, giving pupils the chance to learn how to use the simple but life-saving device.

He said: “I really hope the defibrillator won't be needed, but it’s good to know it’s there in case of an emergency. It’s also a great chance for the kids to learn life-saving skills that will stay with them into adulthood. I hope having the defib visible at the entrance to the school will also be a good way to make the pupils, parents and teachers more aware of defibrillators generally, and not afraid to use one if they need to.”

Earlier this month, more than 350 pupils and teachers at the school learned CPR and were shown a demonstration of how to use the defibrillator, in preparation for today’s installation.

It’s an initiative Head Teacher Andrew Hunter has been keen to support, saying: “We worked closely with our Parent Council so that we could have a defibrillator fitted at Carrick Knowe Primary. This will be of great benefit to our community in the event that it is needed. We are also delighted that children throughout the school had the opportunity to learn CPR techniques.”

The charity behind the project, St John Scotland, has installed Public Access Defibrillators across the country as part of their work dedicated to saving and enhancing life. They are also a partner in Save a Life for Scotland, the initiative aiming to teach 500,000 Scots CPR by 2020.

Lynn Cleal, who leads the St John and the City project in Edinburgh on behalf of St John Scotland, said: “We’re delighted that through Paul’s amazing fundraising work, he’s been able to donate a seventh defibrillator to the city. Being at the school is a great opportunity to help pupils of all ages learn CPR and how to use a defibrillator, which is so simple, but could help save a life.”

Additional information:

About the St John and the City Defibrillator Project

  • St John and the City was launched in 2016, and has so far placed more than 135 defibrillators at strategic sites across the city, including the entire fleet of 27 Edinburgh trams; at Edinburgh Castle, and at more than 100 further key sites across the capital.
  • The fully automated, easy-to-use units can prove vital in the event of someone suffering a cardiac arrest.
  • The defibrillators are placed in strategic sites, such as churches, community centres and train stations across Edinburgh and the surrounding areas, taking into account the volume of people in the immediate vicinity.

About St John Scotland

  • St John Scotland is a Scottish charity dedicated to saving and enhancing life.
  • Formed in 1947, we’re headquartered in Edinburgh and have twelve Area teams across the country, each with their own projects and activities. 
  • As well as the St John and the City project, we support the provision of public access defibrillators across the country.
  • We run CPR training sessions to train people in life saving techniques, and our trained volunteer First Responder teams work with the Scottish Ambulance Service to deal with emergency situations in their own area until the arrival of paramedics.
  • St John Scotland Patient Transport teams operate in Dumfries and Galloway, Angus and Tayside, and Fife, ensuring people arrive safely and on time for hospital appointments.
  • St John Scotland has also been one of the biggest contributors to Scottish Mountain Rescue teams over the past two decades.

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