PEI

Life-saving defibrillators planned for all P.E.I. public schools

The province says it plans to spend $100,000 to install 60 defibrillators in all public schools across Prince Edward Island.

'They are a very simple-to-operate machine that can save lives'

The province says 25 public schools already have AEDs. Some of those will be replaced. (Laura Meader/CBC)

The province says it plans to install automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, in all of P.E.I.'s public schools.

The devices can shock a heart having a cardiac arrest and restore its rhythm. 

"It will be great to know really, that every school has an AED and folks that know they have a school in their community will then know there is an AED nearby," said P.E.I.'s Education Minister Jordan Brown.

'Can save lives'

"The big thing with AEDs is that they are a very simple-to-operate machine that can save lives."

Minister of Education Jordan Brown says officials will work with schools and first responders to determine the best locations for the AEDs. (Laura Meader/CBC)

The province is looking to purchase 60 AEDs at an estimated cost of about $100,000.

On P.E.I. 25 schools currently have AEDs, some funded through community support and others placed there by school boards after a specific concern had been identified.

The new AEDs will be installed in schools that don't have one or will replace older models. Some larger schools will get more than one.

Brown said some teachers and staff will receive training for the new devices.

Once they are installed, the school-based AEDs will be added to the provincial AED registry — a database used by first responders during an emergency to find the nearest defibrillator.

Community support

P.E.I.'s Home and School Federation had been asking the province for AEDs in schools since 2016, and is pleased with the announcement. 

The province says teachers and staff will be trained on the new AEDs. (Laura Meader/CBC)

"Schools are in many ways the heart of our Island communities and are used for many things outside of the normal school day. Having AEDs readily available in schools not only protects students and staff but also all community members that utilize their facilities," said Darby McCormick, president of the Queen Elizabeth Home and School Association, in a news release Tuesday.

In an Oct. 2017 email to CBC News, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said most government buildings are not required to have defibrillators, so it would not provide funding.  

Funding finally approved

Brown said government has been working on the plan for the past year and a half.

Automated external defibrillators have already been installed in some of schools where there was an identified risk among the students or staff. (Laura Meader/CBC)

"Generally there has been a call by Island EMS and other partners in the public safety world, looking to have more AEDs around in community areas and also to have the registry updated with those AEDs so that folks know where they are," he said.

Brown said they will work with the schools and first responders to determine the best locations for the AEDs.

He said he expects them to be installed by May.

More P.E.I. news

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed a quote from Darby McCormick to someone else.
    Feb 06, 2019 9:47 AM AT

With files from Laura Meader

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