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In Canada, approximately 40,000 people experience sudden cardiac arrests each year and up to 85% of those occur in public places (Heart and Stroke Foundation). Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the sudden and unexpected loss of heart function. Signs of an arrest include no breathing, no movement, no response to initial rescue breaths, and no pulse.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is considered a first line of offence in an effort to keep the heart pumping oxygen-filled blood to the brain and rest of the body. This keeps the system viable until proper medical help can intervene to restore independent heart function. However, research has shown that CPR survival rates in a non-hospital setting are very low. We know that if an average adult keels over in the street, is found unresponsive and pulseless by a bystander who administers CPR while 911 is called, the odds of the victim emerging from the resuscitation effort healthy and with a normally functioning brain are about 2% (Hagihara, Jama Network Journal).

An Automated Electronic Defibrillator or AED is a device with sophisticated electronics used to identify cardiac rhythms, and to deliver a shock to correct the abnormal electrical activity in the heart. An AED has the capability to advise the first aider using the device to deliver a shock if the heart is in a rhythm which can be corrected by defibrillation. Use of the AED within a 3-minute window can increase the chance of surviving a heart episode by up to 66% compared to 20% if defibrillation took place after 12 minutes or more (National Registry of CardioPulmonary Resuscitation).

These are sobering statistics, and they motivated us to purchase another AED.

Thanks to a kind and generous donation from the George Lunan Foundation and the work of our Healthcare Manager, Cathy Romano, we have been able to acquire a second AED (there is already one at the main camp). This essential equipment will be installed at the Environment Centre and staff there couldn’t be more thrilled.