$10M defibrillator fund slowly accessed by Windsor schools

Windsor's school boards have been slow to apply for provincial funding to increase access to defibrillators in schools.

Ontario Defibrillator Access Initiative was announced in 2011

Defibrillators can help increase your chance of surviving a cardiac arrest by 75 per cent. (CBC)

Windsor's school boards have been slow to apply for provincial funding to increase access to defibrillators in schools.

Former Premier Dalton McGuinty, along with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, announced the $10-million Ontario Defibrillator Access Initiative in 2011.

The money was earmarked for defibrillators in community centres, nursing homes and schools.

While the region's Catholic and French have applied for funding, the English public board hasn't.

"Not that we ever want to see one of those episodes happen in one of our schools, but should it transpire, we would like to offer a better chance of survival to whomever that would be," Francois Brule of the Providence French Catholic School Board said.

The Greater Essex County District School Board told CBC News it wants to make sure defibrillators are absolutely necessary before installing them.

"We have been waiting, for the most part, for the direction from the government on a policy procedure for emergency defibrillators in public buildings and we've yet to receive that," board spokesperson Scott Scantlebury said.

Andrew Lotto of the Heart and Stroke Foundation said demand for defibrillators is "quite high." He said two rounds of applications for the device have been processed.

"The first round we received over 3,000 applications the majority of those coming from schools.  And the second one we ran just this past summer, we received another 2,000 applications again - roughly 80 per cent coming from schools directly," Lotto said.

Public school parents in Windsor want defibrillators in classrooms, especially since the money to have them installed is available.

"Funding is available they should have it as simple as that," Clifford Handsor said.

"In any case of emergency it's still nice to have," Crystal Chartier said.


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