VIA Rail Provides On-Board Defibrillators



    MONTREAL, July 18 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail has won the railway industry's
2008 Safety Award for giving employees and passengers in cardiac arrest access
to 185 life-saving defibrillators on all trains, at select passenger stations
and workplaces. The units went into operation from coast to coast in mid-July.
    "Six hundred and 25 VIA staff were trained to operate the units by the
company's first aid instructors since the initiative started last December,"
said Cliff Mackay, RAC President and CEO. "VIA Rail is the first in the
passenger rail industry to make the devices available."
    The automated external defibrillators, commonly known as AEDs, can
restart a person's heart in just seconds after it has stopped beating. With a
defibrillator, even someone who is not a doctor can save the life of a person
in cardiac arrest, explained Bob Gray, VIA's senior manager for Health, Safety
and Emergency Preparedness.
    According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, a person's
chances of survival increase by as much as 30 per cent if defibrillation is
administered in the first moments following a heart attack..
    The annual Safety and Environmental Awards program was created in 2005 by
the Railway Association of Canada, which represents some 60 freight and
passenger railways, to encourage workers to adopt safe, environmental
practices and operational techniques. They transport 65 per cent of surface
freight in the country, move 65 million passengers annually and generate only
three per cent of the country's transportation greenhouse gas emissions.




For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Roger Cameron, Railway
Association of Canada, (613) 564-8097; Malcolm Andrews, VIA Rail, (514)
871-6604


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