A BARRY secondary school has become a Vale life-saving pioneer after becoming the first education establishment to get its own defibrillator.

Barry Rotary Club, in conjunction with Welsh Hearts, this week presented Bryn Hafren Comprehensive with the life-saving equipment which would benefit pupils, staff, and visitors to the 1200 pupil school.

Barry Rotary Club has so far funded four devices which will be kept in public places for use, by trained people, in an emergency situation.

Barry & District News sister paper - the South Wales Argus – has launched Jack’s Appeal campaign to install a defibrillator in every Gwent school and Barry First Responder, Brian Foley, has been involved with training people in their use.

The drive in Gwent has been in memory of Oakdale teenager, Jack Thomas, who tragically died aged 15.

Welsh Hearts is also working on the saving Welsh lives in schools project with Dr Gareth Roberts and a team of doctors going into all schools in Wales teaching CPR and defibrillator training and the charity hopes many lives in will be saved as a consequence.

Charity director, Sharon Owen, said: “There are not enough defibrillators in Wales or trained people to give victims the best chance of survival during those first few critical minutes. With more defibrillators we can provide a vital link in the chain of survival so that even more lives can be saved through-out Wales.

“When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their chances of survival drop by up to 14 percent for every minute that passes so a speedy response is crucial. Therefore, early defibrillation within four to five minutes gives the best possible chance of survival.”

She added: “A defibrillator is not something to be afraid of. It actually talks you through the procedure and actually works out if a shock is needed.”

Bryn Hafren headteacher, Phil Whitcombe, said: “I think this is a really important device to have here. Time is of the essence with this. I am just delighted and would like to thank Barry Rotary Club for the fundraising and Welsh Hearts.

Rotary Club chairman, Peter Battle said the school had expressed an interest in housing the device and was pleased to help.

He said: “It’s the sort of project Rotary looks out for when we can work in the community.”

Mr Battle said Cadoxton primary school has also so far expressed an interest in hosting a defibrillator and events such as the annual Barry Island firework display would help towards funding equipment.

Any school wishing to express and interest in acquiring a device, can contact Barry Rotary Club.