Life-saving defibrillators arriving

  • Jan. 27, 2014 8:00 p.m.

By Laura Bishop-Life-saving technology is coming to several island communities, thanks to donations of ten automated external defibrillators (AEDs) from two different organizations.”We’re realizing how life saving they can be. There are incidences of people we’ve lost because we can’t get to them in time. We wanted to provide an AED for every community,” said Ellen Cranston of the Hospital Day Foundation.A defibrillator uses an electric shock to correct an active, but chaotic heart rhythm, which occurs during certain types of heart attack.The Hospital Day Foundation ordered six of the devices, which will go to Sandspit, Queen Charlotte, Skidegate, Port Clements, Masset and Old Massett.Lisa Pilling, communications officer for BC Ambulance, said two AEDs were recently donated by the Heart & Stroke Foundation to the Howard Phillips Community Hall in Masset and the Multi-Purpose Building in Port Clements, as part of the BC Public Access to Defibrillation (PAD) Program. This spring, the program will provide AEDs for the village office in Queen Charlotte and the Sandspit community hall.”It doesn’t matter if each community already has (an AED); the more coverage, the better,” said Ms Cranston.The PAD Program, a partnership between the Heart & Stroke Foundation and the BC government, will install 450 AEDs in public places throughout the province by 2015.”Reducing the time to CPR and defibrillation by having defibrillators accessible in public locations can help provide the best chance of survival following a cardiac arrest. The use of an AED combined with CPR and calling for advanced paramedic help is a critical combination to improve the odds of survival,” said The Heart and Stroke Foundation website. Staff and volunteers in Masset and Port, which already received the PAD Program AEDs, participated in a presentation about the device on Jan. 18, led by local BC Ambulance Service Unit Chief Lisa Edwards. Charlotte and Sandspit staff and volunteers will also have an orientation session when they receive their AEDs this spring. “BC Ambulance Service’s goal with the BC PAD Program orientation session is to empower bystanders to feel confident performing CPR and using an AED during a medical emergency,” said BCAS spokesperson Lisa Pilling. “We want as many people as possible to understand that early intervention gives sudden cardiac arrest patients their best shot at survival and that the ability to save someone’s life is in their hands.” The beauty of having an AED, said Ms Cranston, is that anybody can use it, even without training. She recounted an incident involving a colleague, a Northern Health employee who was running on a track in Prince George. He was fit, but one day he collapsed. Someone nearby grabbed the AED and used it on him, saving his life.”It’s automated, so if someone goes down, you can just open it up and follow the directions in black and white. It will instruct you from there,” she said. Ms Pilling said BCAS has registered the AEDs in the ambulance dispatch system, which enables an emergency services dispatcher to direct the calling bystander to the nearest AED. Dispatchers can then assist the caller in using the defibrillator during the emergency.

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