Ottawa

Ottawa boy's death spurs French Catholic board to install defibrillators in all schools

Inspired by the story of an Ottawa boy who died when his heart stopped during recess, Eastern Ontario's French Catholic school board now has defibrillators in all 55 of its schools.

Story of Griffin Martin behind board's $105K decision to equip all 55 of its schools with AEDs

Griffin Martin died after going into cardiac arrest during recess at Orleans Wood Elementary School in February 2017. The school did not have an automated external defibrillator, or AED. (Submitted )

Inspired by the story of an Ottawa boy who died when his heart stopped during recess, Eastern Ontario's French Catholic school board now has defibrillators in all 55 of its schools.

Jason Dupuis, superintendent of education for the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, told Radio-Canada the decision to equip the schools with automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, was inspired by the death of eight-year-old Griffin Martin, who collapsed while playing with friends at Orleans Wood Elementary School in February 2017. 

While it's not known whether a defibrillator would have saved his life, Griffin's school did not have one of the machines available.

After his death, Griffin's parents began raising money to install AEDs in more public spaces, including schools.

Following a CBC story, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board promised to install defibrillators in all its schools.

Dupuis said the French Catholic board decided to devote $105,000 of its budget to buy defibrillators for the 35 schools that didn't already have one.
Louis Barrière, left, and Jason Dupuis, right, of the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, show off an AED. All 55 of the board's schools are now equipped with the devices. (Radio-Canada)

Of the 20 schools that already had the devices, none have ever had occasion to use them, Dupuis said. But he believes it's still a worthwhile investment in the safety of students and staff.

The board's occupational health and safety manager said at least four people have been trained to use the devices at each school.

The devices come with special electrodes for use on children under eight, Louis Barrière said.

It's not mandatory for boards in Ontario to equip their schools with defibrillators.

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