In the past five weeks, four automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were placed in the Kamloops area, increasing the chance of a good medical outcome for residents who may suffer a sudden cardiac arrest.
The AEDs were donated by the Heart and Stroke Foundation to the Kamloops Airport, Singh Street Soccer Bowl, Tournament Capital Ranch and Sun Peaks Sports Field as part of the Public Access to Defibrillation (PAD) program.
Provided through funding from the B.C. government and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the program supports the installation of up to 750 AEDs in public venues, such as community centres, arenas, recreation centres, playing fields and parks, throughout B.C. by 2017.
“Sudden cardiac arrest can affect any one of us, anywhere, at any time,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Government’s continued support of the Public Access to Defibrillation program ensures that AEDs are in place in busy public venues to help provide all of us with the ability to save a life or the chance to survive a sudden cardiac arrest.”
For many, the thought of sudden cardiac arrest affecting their lives is a remote possibility, but over 2,000 British Columbians experience a sudden cardiac arrest each year. The current survival rate for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is only about 5%. When CPR is used with defibrillation, or an electrical shock to the heart, this survival rate jumps up to 75%.
An AED is a safe, portable device anyone can use to deliver an electric shock to restart a heart in sudden cardiac arrest. The AED reads the heart rhythm and only delivers a shock if needed.
The Public Access to Defibrillation program was officially launched in February 2013, with $1 million from both the B.C. Ministry of Health and the Heart and Stroke Foundation to install 450 AEDs provincewide. Additional funding from both parties will bring the total support for the program up to $4 million, and 300 more AEDs to British Columbians by the end of 2017. To date, more than 185 AEDs have been placed in over 80 communities throughout the province.
“Last week, government announced an additional $1 million in funding to increase public access to defibrillators,” said Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone. “Today, we get to see first hand what this means for the residents in the Kamloops region.”
The Heart and Stroke Foundation has partnered with the BC Ambulance Service to implement the PAD program, with paramedics providing on-site orientation and ongoing program oversight for each AED installation. Paramedics train staff and volunteers at each location to learn the chain of survival – Call 9-1-1, Do CPR and Use an AED.
Every venue that receives an AED through the PAD program registers their device in a registry, which is linked to the BC Ambulance Service’s ambulance dispatch system. This registry enables a bystander who calls 9-1-1 to be directed by a dispatcher to the nearest AED. The BC Ambulance Service dispatchers also can assist bystanders on how to use the AED during a medical emergency.
“The goal of our PAD program orientation sessions is to empower bystanders to feel confident performing CPR and using an AED during a medical emergency,” said Paul Swain, BC Ambulance Service’s director of Interior Region. “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.”
“We’re placing AEDs where there is the greatest chance they’ll save a life,” said Shelley Parker, PAD program manager, Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Through this program, we will donate hundreds of AEDs to public places across the province and give bystanders the tools to help someone suffering a sudden cardiac arrest.”
Over 100 paramedics participate in the BC PAD program and have conducted educational orientations for 186 venues to date. Hundreds of British Columbians have learned CPR and how to apply an AED since the program began in February 2013.
For more information about the PAD program, visit: www.BCPADProgram.ca
To learn more about AEDs and sudden cardiac arrest, visit: www.aedinyourhands.ca
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)
BC Ambulance Service