What is an AED?
An Automated External Defibrillator, also known as an ‘AED’ is a portable device that analyzes and identifies shockable heart rhythms, advises the rescuer of the need for defibrillation and delivers a shock if needed to restore a normal heart rhythm. An AED will only advise the rescuer to deliver a shock if the heart is in a rhythm which can be corrected by defibrillation.
What can Nova Scotians do to help?
- Register your AED(s).
- Get trained in CPR and AED administration.
- In emergencies, call 9-1-1, perform CPR, and use an AED.
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Who can use an AED?
An AED will only advise the rescuer to deliver a shock if the heart is in a rhythm which can be corrected by defibrillation. They are also made to include voice and visual prompts. For this reason, AEDs are easy and safe to use.
An AED can be used by anyone, regardless if they have been trained on them or not. However, it is highly recommended that everyone get certified in CPR and AED usage. CPR and AED training and familiarity will increase confidence in the rescuer which will lead to more efficient CPR and a more timely AED application and usage.
What is EHS doing to promote the program, to increase registrants?
- EHS developed a website, savelivesns.ca, which provides information on the program and how to get involved/register AEDs.
- A social media video was produced and shared, in an effort to spread the news about the enhanced Registry and gain attention for the website.
- Posters will be posted in communities, encouraging the Registry.
- AED vendors will be provided promotional materials.
How can I purchase an AED?
Emergency Health Services is in charge of the provincial AED Registry. We do not sell AEDs nor do we promote the sale of any one make or model. We follow the Canadian Heart & Stroke suggestion to contact and/or compare each AED company and to make a decision based on your own organizational needs. Heart & Stroke have a list of Health Canada approved AEDs on their website:
Why is the registry not public for everyone to see?
- Data entered into the Registry includes private information.
- We have a responsibility to protect the information of those registered, unless they indicate otherwise.
- We are actively working on an interactive AED map that will be viewable on savelivesns.ca.
How do I maintain my AED?
All AED maintenance items should be covered by the manufacturer or vendor you purchased your device from; please refer to the manual that came with your AED at the time of purchase or donation. If you have any concerns about your device, please contact your vendor.
Why does the map on the program website not provide the addresses of registered AEDs?
- EHS operates the Registry and some AEDs as part of the EHS Medical First Response Program, but does not own the majority of AEDs in the EHS AED Registry.
- The Registry is volunteer-based and, although we are encouraging owners to register, it is still optional.
- Whether ‘public access’ or ‘private’, locations have been registering their AEDs based upon confidence that our Medical Communication Centre will be able to auto-notify responders and/or eventually provide information on how to retrieve nearby AEDs. We respect that it may not be their wish to specifically make this information public at this time.
Where is the best location for me to install my AED?
Defibrillation is most successful if completed within 3-5 minutes of a cardiac arrest. Although there are no set guidelines on where to install your AED, there are some recommendations:
Please visit CPR & AED Information: Where to start when purchasing an AED for location suggestions.
What happens when full automation occurs?
- Once fully automated, the MCC communication officers will be able to provide the locations of available AEDs within 600 feet of an incident to a caller.
What is a heart attack?
Cardiac arrest and a heart attack are not the same thing. A heart attack occurs when blood flow is reduced or lost due to a blocked coronary artery.
Person is generally conscious and in discomfort
Blood flow, and therefore oxygen delivery, is blocked or minimized
Signs can include: pale colour, profuse sweating, chest pain, nausea and/or vomiting, shortness of breath.
While they are not the same thing, a heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest if it is not quickly treated. This is why both are serious medical emergencies and 9-1-1 should be activated as soon as possible.
When will full automation be completed between AED Link™ and the EHS MCC?
- We do expect full automation to be completed in the coming months however this is dependent on some work being done between AED Link™ and the MCC caller questioning software.
- Essentially, the questioning software used in the MCC, ProQA, has scripted questions that are carefully developed and managed by a Medical Director.
- Any changes in ProQA questioning must be tested; we understand Beta testing is currently underway for the proposed changes to the cardiac arrest protocol to enable enhanced pre-arrival instructions for AEDs.
- We continue to be in touch with AED Link™ and our software provider, the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch, on the status of this change.
What is sudden cardiac arrest?
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is when the heart suddenly stops beating normally and cannot pump blood to the rest of the body. This usually occurs unexpectedly.
Person usually collapses without warning
Results in ineffective blood and oxygen flow to vital organs
Cardiac arrest may have a variety of causes including heart disease, drowning, stroke, electrocution, suffocation, drug overdose, and trauma. In Canada, 35,000 – 45,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest each year.
Reference: Canadian Heart & Stroke
If someone is registering an AED, what is their responsibility to Nova Scotians?
- If an AED is registered, there is no obligation for a device to be available to the public or for there to be responders associated.
- The owner of an AED has the choice to mark their device as public or private, can set hours of availability for access and also select if they have responders associated with the device.
- Registered responders do not have an obligation to respond to a suspected sudden cardiac arrest emergency. In the near future, our hope is to have a large pool of registered responders so that maybe at least one responder will be available at that time.
What can the public expect now, with phase one of the enhanced EHS AED Registry?
- Phase one focuses on spreading the word about the enhanced Registry through an awareness campaign to encourage AED “owners” to join the online database.
- Also, first steps have been taken to integrate the AED Link app with the EHS Medical Communications Centre (MCC).
- Some notifications will be sent to responders through AED Link™, based on specific response criteria generated from the EHS MCC call taking process.
- AED owners will receive notifications with regards to maintenance and expiries.
- Responders registered with a device (AED) will receive notifications from AED Link™ if there is a sudden cardiac arrest within 1,200 feet of that registered AED.
What delayed the launch of phase one?
- EHS worked with the Department of Health and Wellness on finalizing the privacy requirements for the enhanced Registry and expected to launch phase one this past fall.
- Privacy approval to enter information into the online software was received the last week of September.
- The privacy process look longer than expected however, we realize this step was required to ensure privacy requirements were met.
Why did EHS decide to enhance the registry?
- EHS planned to enhance the offline Registry to enable a more automated approach to tracking and notifications for maintenance and expiries for AEDs.
- In early 2017, EHS partnered with AED Link™, a nationally available online registry, to support the implementation of this next phase of development.
Describe the earlier version of the EHS AED Registry and what it did
- In August 2011, EHS launched an offline AED Registry database to track the locations and maintenance records of all AEDs in Nova Scotia.
- The primary function of the EHS AED Registry at that point was to:
- Assist with quality control of devices, locations and operation readiness
- Provide AED updates in the event of AED recall notices or CPR/AED protocol changes
- Remind the site that the batteries and electrodes for their AED(s) are set to expire
- The older process included a form an AED owner would complete, and send to EHS.
- EHS would provide reminders via letter when expiries were pending.
- If an owner did not update EHS of new pads/batteries, an AED would be marked as inactive.
- Those in the previous database have been contacted, in hopes they will join the enhanced Registry.
What is the difference between an inspector and a responder?
In the AED Link™ software, an inspector is someone who is in charge of maintaining the registered AED. This may be the owner of the AED or their designate. The inspector may receive monthly notifications (optional) to visually and physically inspect the AED(s). Inspectors will also receive automated e-mail reminders when the expiry dates of pads and batteries are approaching. Both of these notifications are meant to ensure that the AED is ready to use should it be needed during a sudden cardiac arrest incident. It is important to note that an inspector does not necessarily need to be trained in CPR and AED, although it is highly recommended. They do not need to be in charge of responding with an AED.
A responder is someone who agrees to receive a text and/or voice notification should a sudden cardiac arrest occur within 1,200 feet of the AED location. The responder could be the owner(s) or designate(s) of that AED. It is recommended that responders have CPR and AED training. If contacted, responders need to ensure that their safety, and safety of others are looked after when responding to an emergency.
All responders and inspectors are required to sign the ‘Terms and Conditions and Release of Liability” forms at the end of the Registration Form in order to be entered into the EHS AED Registry.
Is there a registration fee?
No. There is no cost to be registered with this program. You are responsible for purchasing your own AED. If an AED has been donated to your facility or organization, you are responsible for the costs of maintaining that AED (replacing the battery and pads when they expire or are used).
Do I need to be certified in CPR and AED in order to register?
You do not need to be CPR and AED certified to be a part of the registry, although it is highly recommended.
If you assign yourself as an ‘inspector’, you will receive maintenance notifications to make sure the AED is ready to use should the unthinkable happen. This can be anyone within your organization or business and there is no requirement to know how to use or respond with the AED.
If you assign yourself as a ‘responder’, it is highly recommended that you are certified in CPR and AED, although it is not a requirement. The goal with this program is to decrease the time between a sudden cardiac arrest happening and the first shock delivered by a defibrillator. If you receive a notification to respond with an AED, there will be other bystanders at the scene of the cardiac arrest and it is possible that they will be trained in CPR and AED.
Does my AED have to be accessible 24-hours a day?
There is an ‘availability’ section on the registration form. Here you will be able to identify when your AED will be accessible to the public.
If a sudden cardiac arrest should occur near your AED outside of the identified hours, it will not show up as an available AED in our Medical Communication Centre.