Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services is updating the Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Program throughout the community.

The community program is recommended by scientific evidence and research reviewed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (HSFO), Municipal officials stated.

Chatham-Kent is required by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to have a plan and performance targets to reach people suffering from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest who require early defibrillation and early CPR.

This plan, and performance targets are to include all types of responders such as citizens, non-emergency response municipal staff, fire fighters and paramedics.

“These are cases where time makes an enormous difference,” Municipal officials said.

“The closest person with even just 5 minutes of training, can potentially save a life.”

In 2011, the Ontario Defibrillator Access Initiative of the Provincial Government and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario was formed with one time assistance to help Municipalities launch these programs.

Recent updates to the HSFO research reinforce the value of this program and emphasize strategic placement of more defibrillators, public awareness and public education in the community.

“A tragic example, during this year’s Christmas parade a bystander suffered a cardiac arrest near King Street and Forsyth Street,” Municipal officials said.

“Off-duty fire fighters and paramedics, volunteering in the parade, jumped into action starting CPR immediately. A quick-thinking fire fighter retrieved the public access defibrillator from the Capitol Theatre and delivered shocks to the cardiac arrest victim several minutes before emergency vehicles arrived.”

Municipal officials added: “We would like any citizen in Chatham-Kent to be familiar with CPR, defibrillators and be comfortable taking the exact same actions in an emergency. As a total quality initiative, we are also adding TrueCPR devices to all EMS paramedic cardiac monitor-defibrillators. This device assists in quality control and helps lead to a better chance of survival amongst the many factors involved. The device also provides after-response analysis for quality improvement feedback.”

Enhancements being made to the PAD program will include:

– More Public Access Defibrillators in Municipal Buildings

– More training opportunities for municipal staff to learn CPR/PAD and become citizen responders

– A centralized database registry and public map for municipal and private business’ PAD devices

– Coordination of the PAD registry with 911 dispatch centres to provide information to callers

– Enhanced Public Access Defibrillation and CPR information on the CKFES.CA website, including:

– A getting started package for private businesses or community groups

– A central registry of qualified training agencies in Chatham-Kent to assist public seeking training

– Addition of PAD Device inspections within prevention programs, and CPR demos on home visits

Background information

Why is resuscitation so important? With early CPR and early defibrillation the chance of a person surviving a sudden cardiac arrest significantly increases and could make the difference in saving lives. Sudden cardiac arrest is an emergency situation resulting from the sudden and unexpected loss of heart function.

– As many as 45,000 cardiac arrests occur each year. That is about one every 12 minutes.

– In Ontario, approximately 7,000 cardiac arrests occur annually, mostly in homes and public places

– Up to 85% of all cardiac arrests occur in public settings or homes.

– Less than 5% of those who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive.

– For every 1 minute delay in defibrillation, the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim decreases by 7% to 10%.

– CPR and AEDs are most effective in the first 3-4 minutes.

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