Defibrillator, anyone?

by gabriel_heuvelink on January 30, 2014 - 5:46pm

In the article “Defibrillators may be hard to find in emergencies: CBC investigation” written by Megan Griffith-Greene and published by CBC news on November 29th 2013 explains the everyday risks that we take by not being aware of the nearest Automatic Emergency Defibrillators (AEDs), if there are any. There are guidelines and requirements put in place by emergency responders for many emergencies; fires, shootings and bomb alerts. However, there are not as many guidelines for health emergencies such as cardiac arrest. Furthermore, AEDs do not have to be registered with 911 services, which render them useless if they cannot be found.

                According to the Heart and Stroke foundation, there is someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest every twelve minutes in Canada, and about eighty-five percent of those take place outside of hospitals. According to the article, the safest place to have a cardiac arrest is in public, because there are more people on-site to help with the emergency. Investigation teams were sent out by the CBC to find out how common AEDs were, and out of 52 public locations visited in Toronto, only half had an AED. Out of those 26 locations, many of the security personnel had not immediately known if there was an AED in the building, or where it would be, and 13 of the found AEDs were registered with 911 services. Only one fourth of AEDs in the locations chosen were known to the staff of the building and to 911 services. Shocking statistics, for a device that if used in the 5 minutes following the cardiac arrest in combination with CPR shoots the survival rate up by 75%.

                In my final year of high school, I was part of the school’s governing board as a student representative, and we were in discussion about buying an AED for our school. However, the main concern was that one of these devices is worth more than 1000$, which to any school facing budget cuts and increasing costs is quite a burden to shoulder. In the end, we bought one using money from the governing board’s fund. If anyone feels that their workplace, school or community center is missing an AED, but is lacking the funds to buy one, a fundraiser could be an effective way of securing the public’s safety in the event of someone suffering from cardiac arrest. 


Let me start by telling you that your article was fantastic. It was full of detail and statistics that were very valuable for the understanding of the issue. What really caught my attention was that there is someone experiencing a cardiac arrest every 12 minutes in Canada. This demonstrates how big of an issue this is. I think the best solution to fix this problem is to change eating habits in Canada. For instance, in an article that recently appeared in the Globe and Mail, excess sugar triples the risks of having heart diseases. Now that research has proven this, perhaps all Canadians should be made aware of this so that they can make responsible choices in the future regarding the food they consume. As hard as this may be, I think that this is the way we lower deaths related to heart diseases because by investing in defibrillators, we are not attacking the root of the problem.

Here is the article I was talking about:

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