Heart and Stroke Foundation and federal government install first automated external defibrillator as part of new program to equip arenas across Canada

January 22, 2014

Foundation working to make the life-saving devices as common as fire

LEGAL, AB, Jan. 22, 2014 /CNW/ – Installation of the first of 2000
automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in arenas and recreation
centres across Canada was announced today at the Legal Recreation
Complex by Health Minister Rona Ambrose and Heart and Stroke Foundation
president Bobbe Wood.

The AEDs are part of a $10 million program funded by the federal
government and administered by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The
program will roll out over the next three years, and will put these
life-saving AEDs into communities in every province and territory, and
will train more than 20,000 facility staff and users to know how to
respond to a sudden cardiac arrest.

“This program puts the ability to save lives in the hands of Canadians,”
says Heart and Stroke Foundation president Bobbe Wood. “It combines
lifesaving technology – the AEDs – with training that provides the
skills and confidence to step forward and act in the event of a sudden
cardiac arrest. It has potential to save thousands of Canadian lives…
to create survivors.”

She adds that ensuring that all public facilities have access to an AED
and training would not be possible without the support of governments
and private donors.

“CPR and AED use are essential skills that every single Canadian should
know and have the confidence to use,” says Wood. “They put saving lives
in everyone’s hands.”

AEDs are electronic devices used to restart a person’s heart that has
stopped beating. They are safe, easy to use, and can be operated
effectively by the public. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can help
restore blood flow to someone suffering cardiac arrest for a short time
until advanced medical care arrives. By using an AED quickly (ideally
within the first three minutes of a cardiac arrest) combined with CPR,
the chances of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest soar by close to 75
per cent.

Approximately 40,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in Canada – that is
about one every 12 minutes. Most occur in homes and public places, and
many are witnessed by a family member, co-worker or friend. Without
defibrillation and early CPR, only five per cent of people who
experience a cardiac arrest survive.

Trevor Forest knows this first-hand. At 58 years old, he was an avid
hockey player. He was physically fit and looked after his health.
However, in the middle of a game at Edmonton’s NAIT arena he suddenly
collapsed. His good friend and teammate Kevin Pollitt knew immediately
that Trevor was in big trouble; in fact, Trevor was in cardiac arrest -
his heart had stopped pumping and he wasn’t breathing. Kevin had
received training in CPR and knew that there was an Automated External
Defibrillator (AED) in the arena. He immediately put his CPR and AED
training into action, to save his friend’s life. When he finally heard
Trevor gasp for breath, “it was an unbelievable feeling,” says Kevin.
Trevor’s survival was the result of an AED placed at the rink, and
people who stepped up to use it.

The Foundation, through its network of instructors, trains approximately
440,000 Canadians every year in CPR and AED use. Although training is
important AEDs are still safe and easy to use by the general public.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s mission is to prevent disease, save
lives and promote recovery. A volunteer-based health charity, we strive
to tangibly improve the health of every Canadian family, every day.
‘Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make
it happen.’ Heartandstroke.ca

SOURCE Heart and Stroke Foundation

Source: PR Newswire

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