PEI

'It's about being prepared': Home and school group wants defibrillators in schools

A home and school group is asking province to fund AEDs in schools.

Province says no funding available for AEDs

Darby McCormick says it makes sense to have AEDs in schools because they are used by many people. (Laura Meader/CBC)

The president of a local home and school group, who is also a paramedic, says automated external defibrillators should be in all P.E.I.schools. 

"Medical emergencies happen everywhere and not at the most convenient times," said Darby McCormick, president of Queen Elizabeth Elementary Home and School.

"AEDs are simple pieces of equipment that anyone can use. It's about being prepared."

McCormick made a formal request to the province at the annual meeting for provincial home and school federation. She said the province should pay for the AEDs, which are about $2,000 each.

'People around all the time'

"Our schools are used by community groups before and after school, there's people around all the time," she said. 

"AEDs are important to have in places where lots of people gather."

McCormick said the resolution also asked for funding for staff to get first-aid training.

Queen Elizabeth Elementary got a defibrillator about two years ago, paid for by the Malpeque Bay Credit Union.

The AED at Queen Elizabeth Elementary school was paid by a local credit union. (Laura Meader/CBC)

McCormick said she feels safer every time she walks in the school and sees the AED on the wall. 

"I know everybody in this building is protected if such an emergency were to happen," she said. "It's better to have it on the wall and never use it than to not have it when it's needed."

In an email to CBC, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said most government buildings are not required to have defibrillators and "funding is not provided at this time." 

"Not considered school equipment'

"AEDs are not considered school equipment and as such, are funded only in schools where there are special circumstances," the email said.

The province has estimated it would cost about $100,000 to put the machines in all schools. 

But McCormick, who sees medical emergencies almost daily when working as a paramedic, said the cost is worth it.

"My issue with that is that you don't necessarily know when these kids need it, and you don't know they need it until they've needed it — and then it's too late."

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