Trent campuses in Oshawa and Peterborough now equipped with 37 life-saving defibrillators

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Published June 6, 2024 at 2:33 pm

Automated external defibrillator

Trent University has teamed up with Action First Aid to install 26 new lifesaving and publicly accessible automated external defibrillators (AEDs) across its campuses in Peterborough and Oshawa.

The goal was to create a “cardiac safe environment” for students, staff, and visitors, said Elyse Sawdon, Trent’s manager of Environmental Health and Safety. “AEDs have been successfully used twice in the past 10 years to treat sudden cardiac arrest at Trent, so part of the decision to increase the number of units was because we know they are effective.”

AEDs are portable eleabtronic devices that require no training and are used in combination with CPR to restart a heart after it stops beating. According to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, one out-of-hospital cardiac arrest happens every nine minutes, and the chances of survival double when an AED is used.

Over the past year a working group including the Joint Health & Safety Committee, Campus Security, Athletics & Recreation and Facilities Management implemented the new AEDs, bringing the total on Trent’s campuses from 11 to 37.

This total includes four outdoor climate-controlled cabinets, making Trent one of only two Canadian universities to provide the public access to an AED 24-7, 365 days a year.

“AEDs can be used by anyone; you don’t need any special training as they are smart, interactive devices which emit voice prompts and walk people through the steps,” added Sawdon. “As such, they are a strong and obvious choice to enhance our health and safety measures for everyone who works, studies, plays, and visits on campus.”

Canadian-based First Aid training agency Action First Aid was selected as project partner and AED vendor, with the organization’s 25 years of knowledge and resources through strategy and public education consultation and the adoption of a sophisticated online tracking tool to inspect and maintain units scoring highly with the university.

“Our team has been really impressed with how Trent approached this entire project,” said Deb Hennig, president of Action First Aid. “They adopted our recommended ‘four-minute mindset’ that optimizes the placement of units ensuring accessibility within the short timeframe that’s crucial for saving the life of someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.”

“By embracing new technology and being one of the first universities in Canada to strategically place outdoor SaveStations, Trent has created a safer environment for its community and is a great example for other institutions.”

The Oshawa campus will get four of the defibrillators (including one at the downtown Advanced Learning Centre), while Symons College in Peterborough will receive the bulk of the rest. Five portable units will be carried by members of Campus Safety, Athletics & Recreation and the student-run Trent University Emergency First Response Team.

“The value of having an integrated institutional AED program at Trent cannot be overstated,” said Leslie Spooner, assistant director of customer engagement and operations within the Athletics department. “The impact of the program extends beyond the physical presence of the devices, signifying a culture of care and responsibility for the well-being of our community.”

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