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Elgin council supports push for defibrillator policy at Thames Valley District School Board

A defibrillator.
A defibrillator. Tim Boyle / Getty Images

The Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) is facing more pressure to enact a policy that puts defibrillators in all of its schools.

Elgin County council voted unanimously in favour of a resolution by the Municipality of Thames Centre, which wants to ensure every school has Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) installed.

READ MORE: TVDSB defends lengthy process to accept defibrillator donation

The electronic devices are used to diagnose and treat life-threatening heart conditions before paramedics arrive.

The issue was thrust into the spotlight last month, when the TVDSB agreed to install a defibrillator at West Nissouri Public School after refusing to do so on two previous occasions.

A student who saw a child die after playing soccer initially donated a device, but the school board did not accept it. He then tried to donate the money to let the school buy a board-approved version, which was also refused.

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Speaking Wednesday on The Craig Needles Show, board trustee Matthew Reed said the TVDSB has an internal policy in place that was not properly communicated and the donation should not have been rejected.

“Once it came to our attention, the board stepped in and clarified everything. I’m happy to say that West Nissouri had the AED installed effective about two weeks ago.”

According to Reed, the board has been working on a policy for months that should be made public in two weeks’ time and hopefully approved in time for the next school year.

“It will go to committee in March. If everything is approved and there’s no changes that need to happen, it would go out for public input for 60 days and then come back to the committee in the end of May. It could go to the board in June to be voted on and approved.”

Elgin County Council can’t force the board to install the devices in all schools, but it can request the province enact policy that requires it.

The Council will now send a letter to the school board, expressing its support for the Thames Centre resolution.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends that Canadians have widespread access to AEDs, particularly in locations which are at high risk for incidents of sudden cardiac arrest.

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With files from Jacquelyn LeBel.

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