More defibrillators soon available in Dufferin
Recreation centres and community buildings around Dufferin will soon be equipped with a life-saving device, thanks to a generous donation from a private citizen and the Province.
Ten automated external defibrillators (AEDs), a first response instrument designed to deliver a shock to correct abnormal electric activity in the heart, is proven to be an effective tool in saving the life of an individual who experiences a cardiac arrest.
In an announcement made last week at the ambulance service station on Blind Line in Orangeville, the outgoing president for the Heart and Stroke foundation, Paul Nelson, said AEDs should become as common as fire extinguishers in the arsenal of emergency equipment available in public places.
Community emergency management services were asked by the Heart and Stroke Foundation to identify the need and number of defibrillators in their local area and apply for funding through the Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) program.
Dufferin and 50 other communities are the benefactors of funding provided by the Frank Cowan Foundation, working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Province.
The program provided eight AEDs and Larry Drysdale, an Orangeville resident spearheaded a fundraiser through his business, Winbak Farms in Caledon, which raised enough money for two units.
The locations in Dufferin soon to receive an AED unit and training for staff are: Centre Dufferin Recreation Centre (CDRC) and the Mel Lloyd Centre in Shelburne, North Dufferin Community Centre, Honeywood, Dufferin County Museum, three locations of the Ontario Early Years Centre Dufferin (Grand Valley, Shelburne and Orangeville), the county courthouse, Orangeville Public Library on Mill Street, Tony Rose Arena and the Alder Street Recreation Centre.
Tom Reid, manager at the Dufferin Caledon Ambulance Service, says the devices will be very visible, located in high traffic areas.
"Immediate response in cardiac incidents can be the difference between life and death and having access to these devices improves response time. From my point of view, time is of the essence and the quicker aid is given, the better the outcome," Mr. Reid said.
Prior to the installation of the 10 new devices, there were just three defibrillators in public locations around Orangeville - Town Hall, Tony Rose Arena and Alder Street Recreation Complex.
In Grand Valley, one defibrillator was purchased for the arena through the donations collected from the community by Emma Byran.
As a young hockey player who plays for the Grand Valley Bantam team, she was inspired by Chase McEachern, an 11-year-old Barrie boy who died in gym class from complications with his heart.
During his lifetime, he endeavoured to raise awareness for the need of AEDs in public places, hockey arenas and schools.
The McEachern family has partnered with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to create the Heart and Stroke Chase McEachern Tribute Fund. This initiative receives donations that allows the Heart and Stroke Foundation to purchase AEDs.
According to the foundation, "between 35,000 and 45,000 Canadians die each year due to sudden cardiac arrest.
The odds of survival without defibrillation are only five percent. Defibrillation within the first few minutes after cardiac arrest can increase survival rates to 50 percent or more."
Mr. Reid says he is pleased to see efforts, like the one displayed by Emma in Grand Valley and Mr. Drysdale in Orangeville, who find ways to raise money for defibrillators in the community.
"Every defibrillator in the community is an asset," he said. "It's great to see private fundraising efforts that allow for the purchase these units."
Each unit costs about $3,000, including the AED and a wall bracket and case. The training required is about $1,500. The entire project is estimated at $45,000.
According to Mr. Reid, 8 to 10 people in each location that will be receiving one of the 10 defibrillators, will be trained on the use of the AED but he expects more citizens will become familiar with its use because CPR courses now include AED instruction.
"Anyone who takes a CPR course will know how to use the AED," he said.
"It's encouraging," he says. "I think CPR training is vital and it's important to take advantage of any training that's provided whether it's at work, school or another organization."
For more information about the Heart and Stroke Foundation visit the website www.heartandstroke.ca.