A new provincial registry program could save lives locally through quick access to Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs).
BC Emergency Health Services launched a provincial database to help emergency medical dispatchers connect callers with AEDs, a portable device used to restart the heart. AEDs deliver an electric shock to start the heart beating normally again.
“The new registry is a vital step in helping people find the closest AED when there is a sudden cardiac arrest,” states Adrienne Bakker, CEO, Heart and Stroke Foundation for B.C. and Yukon, in a recent press release. “Without defibrillation and CPR, the chase of survival deceases by seven to 10 per cent for each minute that passes.”
The provincial government has invested $2 million in the BC Public Access to Defibrillators (PAD) program since 2013. Their goal is to install 750 community AEDs in public venues throughout BC by 2017.
Through that commitment, the Agassiz Community Recreation & Cultural Centre was able to install a second AED during their renovation project. Kimberly Goulet, the District of Kent recreation supervisor, says when the centre was expanded, they realized it would be a good idea to have another AED in the building to decrease the response time.
Included in the funding for the AED was the opportunity to host a training session. Seven people participated in the AED orientation on December 18. Community Recreation & Cultural Centre staff are also trained in its use along with their First Aid level one training. But Goulet emphasizes these devices are designed to be “user friendly.” Even if someone does not have training, the prompts from the device should help.
The District of Kent also has AEDs located in District-owned buildings such as the pool, the fire hall and treatment plant.
The Village of Harrison Hot Springs does not maintain any AEDs for public use although the Harrison fire department carries AEDs on all their trucks.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation urges anyone who has an AED in their home or business to register in the database, found at www.bcpadprogram.ca. Registrants are required to complete monthly maintenance checks on their AEDs. Users who register their AED have the option to make their information public or only allow BC emergency services to see it.