01 March 2023
RIVERVIEW (GNB) – Every school in the province will now be equipped with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) thanks to a partnership between the provincial government and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of New Brunswick. Devices will be placed at the final 49 schools which did not already have one.
An AED is a portable, easy-to-use device that can restart the heart of a person who is in cardiac arrest.
“Public schools play a central role as gathering places for all age groups in communities across the province,” said Health Minister Bruce Fitch. “This investment in AEDs means every community with a school now has access to this life-saving equipment.”
The cost of installing all 49 AEDs is about $175,000.
“Equipping all public schools with AEDs makes our facilities safer, both for students and staff and for those who use our schools for different community events,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Bill Hogan. “We are proud to have partnered with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of New Brunswick to accomplish this milestone.”
A cardiac arrest, when the heart suddenly stops beating, can happen to anyone at any time. Survival rates drop significantly without an AED or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). When AEDs are used in combination with CPR within the first few minutes, the chances of survival can double. “We have seen time and time again the impact that AEDs can have when utilized in a timely manner,” said Dr. Michel D’Astous, cardiologist at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre and a member of the board for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “It is a matter of life and death, and today we can celebrate that every school in our province is helping to close a gap in the delivery of emergency medical services.”
Experts recommend that AEDs be available in locations where large groups of people gather, or where emergency medical services may take longer to reach.
“Thanks to the generosity of so many donors, our foundation has placed 471 AEDs in communities throughout the province. We are proud that some of those units have already been used by heroic bystanders to save the lives of many New Brunswickers,” said Kurtis Sisk, CEO of the foundation. “With this announcement we are not only able to make AEDs more accessible to more people, but we are also spreading awareness about the vital impact of this life-saving tool. The Heart and Stroke Foundation is proud to have now, with the support of the provincial government, placed 520 AEDs, including all schools in New Brunswick.”
AEDs are effective and safe devices that have been specifically designed for anyone to use. In a situation where every second counts, Sisk said, the foundation is focused on making AEDs accessible in as many public spaces as possible.
It is estimated that more than 700 cardiac arrests happen each year in the province.