Automated External Defibrillator portable electronic life saver. (Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / Baloncici)

Defibrillators To Be Installed At TVDSB Schools

A plan to install defibrillators throughout the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) is moving forward, honouring the memory of a student who died after suffering a heart attack.

The board trustees voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the implementation plan to install automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in 40 schools per year, over a three to five year period, beginning in September 2017.  The school board will also be responsible for providing the appropriate AED training to school staff.

Trustee Jake Skinner said only 5% of TVDSB elementary schools and 27% of high schools are currently equipped with an AED.

“We recognize that there’s a gap there, and I’m very ecstatic and happy that we’re going to be moving forward to fill that gap and make sure that need is met,” he said.

The school board will be required to provide $20,000 from its annual budget to support the maintenance of the AEDs. Trustees will be seeking outside funding from community groups to pay for the cost of the defibrillators, which is around $1,885.94 per unit.  At least one AED will be installed at all 141 TVDSB schools.

“We’ve had people from the community come forward, so we’re very excited to work with them and to get all of our schools equipped with these life saving devices,” said Skinner.

Skinner said the new AED plan also honours the memory of 15-year-old Andrew Stoddart, who passed away from a sudden heart attack in May 2015, while playing soccer in Kintore. Despite efforts to revive him after he collapsed on the field, Stoddart died in hospital.

The program “Andrew’s Legacy” was formed after Stoddart’s death, and has since donated 25 AEDs to the community. The program has also pushed for the school board to approve the plan for AEDs at all schools.

“They’ve been raising money for a while now [and] they’d be one of the groups we’d reach out to. I would hope that we’d reach out to many more groups that will really engage the community,” said Skinner. “Just imagine what a life is worth. It’s worth a lot more than… whatever it costs for AEDs.”

Skinner said he’s hopeful that there will be enough community support to complete the board’s plan even sooner — in the next one to two years.