Group Medical Services Equips Saskatchewan Schools with Life-Saving Heart Devices



    REGINA, Oct. 22 /CNW/ - Group Medical Services (GMS) strengthened its
commitment to the health of Saskatchewan communities today with the
announcement of a $300,000 donation to provide Automated External
Defibrillators (AED) to 83 schools across the province of Saskatchewan.
    "We're very pleased to partner with Saskatchewan schools in this effort"
said GMS President and CEO, Shirley Raab. "This province-wide distribution of
AED devices to schools is the first of its kind in Canada. Schools have agreed
to establish ongoing training and awareness programs for teachers and
students. The use of AEDs has proven to result in dramatic increases in
survival from cardiac episodes."
    High schools were selected as ideal locations for the AED installations.
There have been a growing number of at-school deaths in otherwise healthy
children. High school students are a high-risk group for sudden cardiac
episodes, especially when involved in high-stress physical activities. With
schools being the social and cultural hub in many communities, access to AED
devices will benefit students, staff, extended families, friends and the
general population. Schools also provide the perfect environment for training
and the development of health education and awareness programs.

    About Automated External Defibrillators

    Automated External Defibrillators are portable devices that can increase
the chance of survival from Sudden Cardiac Arrest and other heart rhythm
disturbances by as much as 74%. Every minute that passes before defibrillation
reduces the rate of survival by 7-10 percent. Time to defibrillation is a
critical survival factor and can be reduced if an AED is available and applied
to the victim quickly. Statistically, those communities with active Public
Access Defibrillation programs experience much higher survival rates.
Automated External Defibrillators automatically detect lethal heart rhythms.
The AED then instructs the user to administer an electric shock if the heart's
rhythm indicates that a shock is necessary to restart the heart. The devices
are fully automated and will not shock a normally beating heart.

    About GMS

    Group Medical Services is a not-for-profit company based in Regina,
Saskatchewan, in operation since 1949. GMS provides health, travel and group
benefit insurance products and services in markets across Canada. Group
Medical Services and its employees are committed to giving back to the
communities they serve in a meaningful way, donating nearly $1 Million to
health-related initiatives over the past 10 years. For more information,
please visit the GMS website at www.gms.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Jennifer Anderson, Communications Coordinator,
Group Medical Services, (306) 790-5788, janderson@gms.ca, www.gms.ca

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