The Manitoba government handed out the first of 1,000 defibrillators Monday in a bid to fill all community owned and non-profit facilities in the province with the free device.

Health Minister Theresa Oswald presented the first of the life-saving devices to Glenlawn Collegiate.

The plan to have mandatory automated external defibrillators (AED) in public places is to ensure crucial help for cardiac arrest victims in the vicinity.

The device shocks the heart back into rhythm and could be the difference between life and death.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, if the device is used with CPR, it can increase the chances of survival from a heart attack by 75 per cent.