Heart and Stroke Foundation and Toronto EMS unveil defibrillators at Toronto Botanical Gardens

TORONTO, Feb. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - To coincide with the start of Heart Month, the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Heart&Stroke Restart a Heart, a Life ProgramTM, and Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Cardiac Safe City celebrate the installation of two Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at Toronto Botanical Gardens, one of the city's most popular and frequented parks. The placement of these AEDs was made possible thanks to Howie Cappell's 3rd annual Hearty-Har-Har comedy event and title sponsor, MNP LLP.

The inaugural Hearty-Har-Har, a comedy show for a stand-up cause, was organized in memory of Cappell's late father, Murray Cappell, who died after suffering a stroke in 1997.

"When I first started Hearty-Har-Har my goal was simple - put my newfound comedic skills to use and raise funds while honouring my parents, Pearl and Murray Cappell," explains Howie Cappell, creator of the annual Hearty-Har-Har. "For the past three years I have enjoyed bringing together my family and friends around this important cause that has touched so many.  Being able to leave a legacy behind in the community with these AEDs is an honour. It is a privilege to see the funds we have contributed make a tangible impact."

Hearty-Har-Har was conceived in 2009, after Cappell completed a stand-up comedy writing course at Humber College. With help from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Hearty-Har-Har event has raised $60,000 for heart and stroke research. Visit www.heartyharhar.com for more information and this year's event picture gallery.

Given the size of the grounds, two AEDs were installed, one fixed in Edwards Gardens and one mobile on Sunnybrook Grounds in a roaming supervisor's vehicle that is manned 16 hours a day, 7 days a week and represents a unique venture for Toronto EMS, Cardiac Safe City and HSF. Partnering with Toronto Parks and Recreation and other city divisions led to the successful placement of two AEDs and training of site staff.

"Toronto EMS emergency medical dispatchers and paramedics know that in a cardiac emergency seconds can make the difference between life and death," says Gayle Pollock Commander, Toronto EMS, Cardiac Safe City Program. "We are delighted to support the installation of these two new AED units and encourage all Toronto residents to be trained in CPR and AED use."

Since 2006, The Restart a Heart, a Life Program has worked in partnership with public access defibrillation programs to place AEDs in high traffic, high use facilities across the province. To date, the program has placed over 3,000 AEDs resulting in 35 lives saved. The Heart and Stroke Foundation's partnership with the Toronto EMS, Cardiac Safe City Public Access Defibrillator Program has helped placed over 350 AEDs in public venues across the City of Toronto.

"Placing AEDs in these areas is of critical importance since cardiac arrests can happen at any moment," says Andrew Lotto, Manager, Resuscitation Programs, Heart and Stroke Foundation. "With the continued support of the public, community groups and funding partners one day AEDs will become as commonplace as fire extinguishers in Ontario, to save lives."

When a person is in cardiac arrest, seconds count. When CPR is combined with the use of an AED in those early minutes, an individual's chance of surviving a cardiac arrest increases to up to 75%. Without CPR and defibrillation, fewer than five per cent of people who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive.

The new CPR guidelines stress early recognition, urging people to call 9-1-1 or their local emergency number if they ever find someone collapsed and unresponsive, and not  to delay by 'looking, listening and feeling' for breathing or pulse. They also recommend that instead of trying to remember how many compressions and how many breaths, bystanders doing CPR are urged simply to remember to "push hard and push fast" on the centre of the chest. 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)

Image with caption: "From left (top): Andrew Lotto, Manager, Resuscitation Programs, HSF, Howie Cappell, Creator of Hearty-Har-Har, Jim McKay, North District Supervisor City of Toronto, Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Aldona Satterthwaite, Executive Director, Toronto Botanical Gardens, Allison Uher, Regional Marketing Manager MNP LLP. From left (bottom): Sandra Page, AED Specialist, Resuscitation Programs, HSF, Gayle Pollock, Commander, Cardiac Safe City, Toronto EMS (CNW Group/Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120202_C9080_PHOTO_EN_9587.jpg

SOURCE Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario

For further information:

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

Kim McKinnon
Coordinator Public Information & Media
Toronto Emergency Medical Services
Office: 416-392-2255
Cell:  416-995-1371

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Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario

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