VANCOUVER, Feb. 6, (Xinhua) -- The Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) will increase public access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to save more lives, the province's health ministry said Wednesday.
An AED is a safe, portable device that anyone can use to deliver an electric shock to restart a heart in sudden cardiac arrest. It reads the heart rhythm and only delivers a shock if needed.
BC Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid said her ministry will work with the Heart & Stroke Foundation, one of Canada's largest health charities, to provide 2 million Canadian dollars for the installation of 450 AEDs in public venues over the next two years.
Those venues will include community centers, arenas, recreation centers, playing fields and sports centers.h According to the ministry, the current survival rate for an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest is only about five percent. Evidence shows that survival rates can be raised to 75 percent if a defibrillator is used within five minutes.
The province's Ambulance Service will support the AED-installed venues by providing orientation for staff on how to correctly use and maintain the devices. It will also compile a registry linked to the ambulance dispatch information system.
When a bystander calls 9-1-1 for an ambulance, the dispatcher will know if an AED is available at the location, and will assist the bystander to use the AED on the cardiac arrest patient.