Heart and Stroke Foundation officially announces placement of 2,000 AEDs in Ontario

Cardiac arrest survivor, Bob Wilson, speaks at the East Bayfield Recreational Centre where he was saved by CPR and an AED. Today, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario announced the milestone of distributing 2,000 AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) in Ontario. (CNW Group/Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario)

Heart and Stroke Foundation officially announces placement of 2,000 AEDs in Ontario. (CNW Group/Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario)

Walter Gretzky embraces Detroit Red Wing and cardiac arrest survivor, Jiri Fischer, celebrating the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario's distribution of 2,000 AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) in Ontario. (CNW Group/The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario)


    BARRIE, ON, May 2 /CNW/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation today announced
that 2,000 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) have now been allocated to
municipalities across Ontario in an effort to increase lives saved due to
cardiac arrest.
    "The initial goal of the Heart&Stroke ReStart a Heart, Restart a Life AED
program was to place 1,000 units across Ontario," said Rocco Rossi, CEO, Heart
and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. "I'm pleased to announce the Foundation has
nearly doubled that commitment in only two years."
    "This is the fulfillment of a dream of a young boy named Chase McEachern.
Today, we are proud to say that we have helped make that dream a reality."
    After hearing that hockey greats Jiri Fischer collapsed and Mario Lemieux
retired due to irregular heart beats like his, Chase, a Vaughan Kings Minor
Peewee AAA player, started a campaign to make AEDs mandatory in hockey arenas
and schools everywhere. Sadly, on February 9, 2006, at the age of 11, Chase
collapsed during gym class and was rushed to hospital, where he passed away
six days later. Working with his family, the Foundation established the
Heart&Stroke Chase McEachern Tribute Fund to continue the work that Chase
began.
    "Our son Chase had a dream of seeing more defibrillators available in
more public places to save more lives," said John McEachern, Chase's father.
An advocate for AEDs at arenas and schools, Chase died two years ago due to
complications from cardiac arrest. "My wife, Dorothy, son Cole, my mother Jean
and I commend the Heart and Stroke Foundation. We are proud to see Chase's
memory honoured today."
    "This milestone could not have been made possible without the financial
support of the Government of Ontario and our partners Scotiabank, 
The Frank Cowan Foundation, Transamerica Life Canada and SSQ Financial Group,"
says Rocco Rossi.
    To distribute the AEDs, Ontario municipal Emergency Management Services
or equivalent were asked to assess their local needs for defibrillators and
apply to the Heart and Stroke Foundation for funds for AEDs and training.
These local applications were reviewed and communities were allocated funds
based on criteria including local need, response times, cardiac survival rates
and local readiness to support a PAD (Public Access Defibrillator) program.
    The Heart and Stroke Foundation also announced today the allotment of 
734 AEDs to be distributed as a result of this assessment process. This
allotment is included in the 2,000 units allocated to date.
    In addition to the 108 units already funded by the Chase McEachern
Tribute Fund that have been placed across Simcoe County , the Heart and Stroke
Foundation will be donating an additional 30 units to the County of Simcoe
paramedic Services.
    "At the County of Simcoe our paramedics are pleased to know that more
people stand a greater chance of survival with these first-responder devices
in use," said Andrew Robert, Director for the County of Simcoe Paramedic
Services.
    Established in April 2006, the Heart&Stroke ReStart a Heart, Restart a
Life AED program and the Heart&Stroke Chase McEachern Tribute Fund, have
helped provide critical resources for AEDs and training support, so that more
lives can be saved.
    "Scotiabank is proud to support the Heart and Stroke Foundation of
Ontario's efforts to introduce an additional 2,000 AEDs across the province,"
said Jim Karges, District Vice-President, Barrie and Muskoka, Scotiabank. In
2007, Scotiabank contributed $250,000 over three years to the Restart a Heart,
Restart a Life campaign. The Bank has supported the Heart and Stroke
Foundation since 1993 and contributed about $1.1 million across Canada. "This
initiative is part of Scotiabank's broader effort to support the communities
in which we live and work."
    "We are pleased to be a part of this initiative with the Heart and Stroke
Foundation of Ontario," said Denise Nip of Transamerica Life Canada. "AEDs
have the potential to make a huge impact on the lives of Canadians and we are
very excited to assist in bringing them to more communities across the
province."
    "The Frank Cowan Foundation is pleased to contribute to a great program
and support communities across Ontario," said Maureen Cowan, President, The
Frank Cowan Foundation. "With the strong leadership of the Heart & Stroke
Foundation we have no doubt they will achieve their objective that one day
AEDs will become as commonplace as fire extinguishers in Ontario, and many
more lives will be saved."
    According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, in Canada, about 40,000
people experience cardiac arrest each year; 7,000 cardiac arrests occur in
Ontario alone. The odds of survival for an out-of hospital cardiac arrest are
approximately five per cent. With Each passing minute, the probability of
survival declines by seven-to-10 per cent. Using an AED, combined with CPR
within the first few minutes, can improve survival rates from five per cent to
50 per cent or more. To support the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario's
AED initiative, donate on line at: www.heartandstroke.ca/startaheart or
www.heartandstroke.ca/chase.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/






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