Heart and Stroke Foundation & Toronto Emergency Medical Services Take Back-to-School Safety to Heart

Automated External Defibrillators are placed in all TCDSB high schools to help save lives

TORONTO, Sept. 20, 2011 /CNW/ - Today, the Heart and Stroke Foundation in partnership with Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) celebrated the installation of 38 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in all 33 Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) high schools.

The AEDs were made possible through a generous donation by ZOLL Medical Corporation Canada to the Heart&Stroke Restart a Heart, a Life Program™ and the Chase McEachern Tribute Fund. This allocation brings the total number of AEDs along with the associated training to over 300, under the Toronto EMS Cardiac Safe City Program.

"Schools serve as learning centers for our youth; gather the public for large assemblies and often act as a focal point in our communities. Placing AEDs in these areas is of critical importance since cardiac arrests can happen at any moment regardless of age," says Andrew Lotto, Manager, Resuscitation Programs, Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Thanks to our partners, we have already been able to place close to 3,000 AEDs in communities across the province. With the continued support of individuals, community groups and funding partners, one day, life-saving AEDs will become as commonplace as fire extinguishers in Ontario."

Prior to installation of the AEDs, teachers and support staff at each Toronto District Catholic School Board high school received training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the proper use of an AED from Toronto EMS Cardiac Safe City staff. Automated External Defibrillators are safe and easy to operate but can be even more effectively used once school staff is trained in their use and know where they are located.

"Prompt action of bystanders and other rescuers trained in CPR and AED use, combined with the sophisticated emergency medical care delivered by paramedics, gives cardiac arrest victims the best chance for survival and a full recovery," says Gayle Pollock, Commander, Toronto EMS Cardiac Safe City Program. "Toronto EMS paramedics see the benefits of early intervention with an AED during a cardiac arrest. The use of an AED is proven to save lives and placing them in every Toronto Catholic high school is a big step toward our goal to place AEDs in all public spaces."

"The health and safety of our students and staff is always our top priority and we are very proud to be moving forward with this important initiative," says TCDSB Chair Ann Andrachuk. "Beyond safeguarding our own school populations, we recognize that our schools are true community hubs where many gather for events and meetings. The availability of AEDs in our secondary school sites will provide an added measure of safety and security for everyone who utilizes our school facilities after hours and on weekends as well."

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, approximately 45,000 Canadians experience sudden cardiac arrest each year, the majority of which occur either at home or in public places. For every minute that passes without help, a person's chance of surviving a cardiac arrest drops by seven to 10 percent. The survival rate of victims for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is less than five percent. However, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with the use of an AED before the arrival of Emergency Medical Services can increase the chance of survival by up to 75 percent.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada sets the Canadian Guidelines for CPR, defibrillation and other aspects of emergency cardiovascular care in Canada. Learning CPR is easy and inexpensive and it could mean saving the life of a friend or family member. For more information on our AED Program and to find courses in your area please visit www.heartandstroke.ca/restart.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.  

SOURCE HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA

For further information:

Reena Kudhail
Specialist, Resuscitation Programs
Communications
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario
Phone: 416-489-7111 ext. 736
Email: rkudhail@hsf.on.ca

Emmy Szekeres Milne
Acting Manager of Communications
Toronto Catholic District School Board
Phone: 416-222-8282, ext. 2356
Email: emmy.szekeresmilne@tcdsb.org

Gayle Pollock
Commander, Toronto EMS Cardiac Safe
City Program
Phone: 416-398-0475
Email:  gpolloc@toronto.ca

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HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA

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