Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Although the EHS AED Registry concentrates on getting a defibrillator to a sudden cardiac arrest patient and making sure that the devices are ready to use, CPR is equally important to increase someone’s chance of survival. This is why it is important to take a CPR and AED training course.
If you are interested in learning CPR and how to use an AED, please contact one of the below organizations (in no specific order):
Heart & Stroke
St. John Ambulance
CPR is important especially when waiting for the arrival of an AED. It is an attempt to keep blood and oxygen flowing to that person’s vital organs. It is highly recommended that Registry participants have training in CPR and AED since this will decrease the time it takes to perform these tasks when the unthinkable happens. Since a lot of cardiac arrests happen at home, this could be a family member or a friend.
Where to start when purchasing an AED
1) Choosing a device
a. Emergency Health Services follows Canadian Heart & Stroke’s direction in not endorsing or promoting a particular brand, make, or model of AED. It is recommended to research which AED best suits your needs, situation, and location.
b. A useful AED comparison chart can be found on the Heart & Stroke website.
2) Pick a desired location
Picking a location for your AED is important. It is recommended to select a permanent location for your AED, as moving it can cause confusion in an emergency. It is important to familiarize employees and/or your registered responders with the location of the AED(s) so that they are efficient in retrieving the device. The goal is to provide defibrillation within 3-5 minutes.
Here are some helpful location tips:
a. An area that is localized, experiences high traffic and is easy to visualize (e.g. a reception area outside of a school or office, or near elevators)
b. Easily accessible (e.g. not behind closed doors or locked in a closet or storage area)
c. Always accessible (24hrs/day locations provide increased coverage)
d. Close proximity to highly populated areas (e.g. large reception halls, community dance rooms, music venues)
e. Locations of activity or exercise (e.g. gymnasiums, weight-training, running tracks, swimming pools, hockey rinks)
f. Zones that may be difficult for first responders and/or paramedics to access (e.g. construction, high-rise offices, apartments or condos, large shopping centres)
3) Get familiar with your device
a. Some vendors will offer an orientation for those who will be most often exposed to the AED; this is highly recommended.
b. Formal CPR and AED training is also highly recommended.
c. Ensure that any new members of your building or organization are familiar with the AED and are CPR & AED trained.
4) Install the AED and post signage
a. Ensure that your AED is easily accessible and clearly marked.
b. Remember: A person’s greatest chance of survival is dependent on how quickly and efficiently CPR is performed and an AED is applied. Less than 3-5 minutes is the goal for defibrillation therapy.
c. Once you register your AED with Emergency Health Services, you will receive visual items to post around your facility, such as:
– Exterior door/window decal
– Interior AED location poster(s)
– Ownership label to place directly on your AED
5) Register your AED
a. Even if you do not wish to make your AED publicly accessible, you can still benefit from including your device in the EHS AED Registry.
b. Ensure that all fields are completed on the registration form.
c. Send completed form(s) to the EHS AED Registry Coordinator.
What are the benefits of having an AED?
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can happen at any time, to anyone, at any age and in any location. By immediately performing CPR and using an AED, you provide the patient an increased chance of survival.
Following cardiac arrest, every minute that passes without the use of an AED lowers the patient’s chance of living by 7-10%. Ideally, an AED should be administered within 3-5 minutes.1 A 2017 research article revealed that the best chance of survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is when a bystander performs CPR and applies a defibrillator; up to 72% survival rate.2 Public access defibrillator (PAD) programs have been increasing in popularity over the past few decades with the goal of increasing AED quantity and usage in their specified areas.
It is important to note that a defibrillator does not ‘restart’ a heart. The heart must be in an irregular rhythm for the defibrillator to deliver a ‘shock’ and not all sudden cardiac arrest patients are in this type of rhythm. If you encounter this during a resuscitation situation, please continue to provide CPR until medically trained responders arrive at your location. You may be performing really effective CPR and using the AED properly but still may not be able to provide a ‘shock’ or defibrillation.