AEDs to be phased in

SD83 will be phasing in Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) into its schools.

At the School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) Board of Education meeting on Tuesday it was recommended by the district’s health and safety committee that the district implement AEDs in all schools.

Automatic External Defibrillators (AED’s) are portable devices that deliver an electric shock through the chest to the heart to treat sudden cardiovascular arrest (SCA) caused when the heart’s electric impulses become abnormal and life threatening.

At present the district supports prescribed paediatric AEDs for specific students. With the motion passed on Tuesday, over a three year period, AEDs will be installed at each school. High schools and those farthest away from existing AEDs will be given early consideration.

Trustee Amanda Krebs commented the $60,000 cost would be easier to deal with over three years, including the costs to replace the batteries, which have an expected life span of five years. “Also, if there was a flaw or safety recall, hopefully it would only effect one-third of the devices so not all of our schools would be without.”

Kathy Crandlemire talks about AEDs with Board

BC PAD Facilitator Kathy Crandlemire attended the meeting to answer any questions the Board may have about AEDs. She explained they are committed to mentor and train teachers on the AEDs.

She added AEDs are invaluable if there is a sudden cardiac arrest. The shock can potentially stop an irregular heart beat and allow a normal rhythm to resume. AED’s are designed to be automated such that it can be used by persons without substantial medical training who are responding to a cardiac emergency. “The AED goes hand in hand with CPR.” She noted the two together can give up to a 75 per cent success rate. She said the AEDs are very easy to use, and the 9-1-1 operators will also help.

Trustee Marty Gibbons noted he appreciated the thorough report and the work done by OHS/Building Services Manager Bev Snow in preparing it.