Heart and Stroke Foundation: federal commitment to fund defibrillators and related training in communities across Canada will save lives

CONCEPTION BAY SOUTH, NL, April 21 /CNW/ - Today Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a $10 million plan to fund life-saving automated external defibrillators and related training in hockey arenas and community recreation centres across Canada.

"Defibrillator placement and training are essential steps in helping Canadians save lives," says Bobbe Wood, CEO, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "This is an important policy recommendation which was identified in the Canadian Heart Health Action Plan."

Also at the Prime Minister's announcement was a cardiac arrest survivor who spoke about how CPR and a defibrillator saved his life after he collapsed during a hockey game.

Defibrillators are electronic devices used to restart a person's heart that has stopped beating. They are safe, easy to use, and can be operated effectively by the lay public.

Up to 85 per cent of all cardiac arrests occur in public settings or homes. Less than five per cent of victims who have a cardiac arrest outside of hospital survive. The early use of a defibrillator along with CPR before the arrival of emergency services can increase the individual's chance of survival by up to 75 per cent. This is critical, given that the survival rate decreases seven to 10 per cent with every passing minute.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has been advocating for an increased number of defibrillators and training in communities to give Canadians the tools and knowledge they need to respond in the event of a cardiac arrest.

"The time between the onset of a cardiac arrest and the use of CPR and a defibrillator can mean the difference between life and death," says Wood. "These machines should be as readily available in Canadian communities as fire extinguishers - they are lifesavers."

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

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. (heartandstroke.ca)


SOURCE HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA

For further information:

Media inquiries:
Eileen Melnick McCarthy
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
613.569.4361 x 318
emelnick@hsf.ca

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