Defibrillator drive takes off

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 20, 2012

A national drive to provide lifesaving equipment to Jewish organisations has taken its first “small steps”. At the same time, a defibrillator is to be given to every primary school in Liverpool after the death of a pupil at the city’s King David Jewish High school.

The local education authority has given £100,000 to provide defibrillators to all 122 primary schools in the city following a campaign by the father of Oliver King, who was 12 when he died after collapsing at King David High’s swimming pool last March.

He suffered from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (Sads), a heart condition similar to that which affected Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba.

The money will be used to train school staff and provide machines following King David Primary head Rachel Ricks’s suggestion, made together with the Liverpool Primary Headteachers’ Association, which she chairs.

Last week, Liverpool’s Childwall Synagogue was given a defibrillator and training through the Oliver King Foundation — set up in Oliver’s memory. This took place in time for the High Holy Days as part of the effort to see Jewish communal organisations also gain the equipment.

Last June, a Childwall Synagogue congregant collapsed from a heart attack, but was saved by a cardiologist who was sitting two rows away.

Childwall Hebrew Congregation’s Sara Saville, who is also a committee member of the Oliver King Foundation, said that small steps are now being taken to equip Jewish communal organisations around the country.

“We are in the early stages of contacting some synagogues, including one in Manchester.

“We are hoping to expand the equipment drive outside Liverpool. We hope this will turn into a national drive,” she said.

Last updated: 12:48pm, September 20 2012