AED Machines available in Surrey Schools

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HI my name is Esmeralda Gomez and I am a parent of 4 children currently in the Surrey School district. I was recently made aware that schools throughout our city are not equipped with AED machines. I find this issue to be really alarming as, we all know how important AED machines are when it comes to saving someone's life. My 14yr old son, who is now 15 yrs old, suffered a cardiac arrest this past July 16 2019 while working out at our local gym. Luckily there were 3 lifeguards and 1 gym staff that performed proper CPR combined with the use of AED machine. My son only received 1 shock from the AED machine which helped to get his pulse back. 

As we all know AED machines are life saving devices, specially when it comes to Cardiac Arrest. They are portable, they have clear instructions that allows anyone to be able to use regardless of age or experience. Time is everything when it comes to the aid of anyone suffering from a Cardiac Arrest. The survival rate without any proper medical help is less than 5%. For each minute that goes by w/o any defibrillation, the chance of survival is reduced by about 10%.  After 3 minutes of being in a cardiac arrest, Global Cerebral Ischemia which is lack of blood flow to the entire brain, can lead to brain injury. By 9 minutes severe and irreversible brain damage is likely and by 10 Minutes, the chances of survival are extremely low.  It can take between 8-12 minutes for paramedics to arrive to the school and by that time the student or staff will not have a chance of survival, if they do they will most likely end up in a coma. With the use of an AED machine, it is the only way to get the heartbeat back to a normal rhythm. 

According to the Heart and Stroke Canadian website, the only way to correct a cardiac arrest is to deliver a shock from a defibrillator. Cardiac Arrest can happen to anyone at anytime, even to those who seem to have a clean bill of health, just like my son.  With schools having Physical Education as a course, students should have access to a AED machine as a precaution as cardiac arrests happen when a child/youth is involved in a physical activity, such as a sport, weight lifting, swimming or even by emotional stress. Untreated/misdiagnosed heart attacks can also lead to a cardiac arrest, which is another reason why staff or school visitors should also have access to this life saving machine. 

It is appalling to me as a mother to know that the Surrey School District does not equip their schools with an AED machines. They have said that there is not enough Cardiac Arrest happening in schools to give them the initiative to supply them with it. They have also stated that there is not enough funding available to purchase AED machines and for the maintenance of them. Some Parent Advisory Councils in local schools have fundraised money to purchase these machines and put them in their schools and then the Surrey School District have gone and taken them down due to liability issues. I personally believe that trying to help save someones life, is far more important than any liability issue. Plus those patrons should be covered by the Good Samaritan Act, as they are trying to help someone that is at risk of loosing their life. 

Other School Districts have equipped their schools with AED machines, so why not Surrey ? The lives of students/staff/visitors should be worth this investment regardless of what city or school district they belong to. Everyone deserves to have a chance of surviving a Cardiac Arrest, funding and liability should not be a priority.  

So I kindly ask of you, to please reconsider this policy that our schools should not have AED machines. Our children and teaching staff deserve to have them in their building. They are part of our future and we owe this to them.