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'Critical' SaveStation installed at Warminster Elementary School

'I cannot express enough as to how important it is ... to have access to this AED service,' says teacher of first SaveStation installed outside a school in Canada

The first SaveStation installed on the outside of a school in Canada was unveiled Thursday afternoon at Warminster Elementary School.

Action First Aid president Deb Hennig says cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in North America. She says one person collapses every 11 minutes.

“Basically, we have about ten minutes to have a chance to save their life. CPR has to be started immediately, and a defibrillator has to be placed on that person’s chest in under ten minutes,” she explained. "Otherwise, the chance of survival is statistically almost zero.”  

While Hennig hopes emergency services in Warminster could come to the aid of a person experiencing a cardiac arrest before it's too late, the reality is challenging.

“It is really critical that we start understanding that we really have to start thinking about how we can get defibrillators closer to people 24/7,” she said.

Hennig says Warminster Elementary School is a great location for a community SaveStation which is an easy-to-use automated external defibrillator (AED). The medical device can analyze the heart's rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.

“Sudden cardiac arrest happens to young children,” she said. “Sudden cardiac arrest is typically an electrical issue and for many reasons, the heart can just misfire and people can collapse suddenly.”

When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, Hennig says the only thing that is going to help save their life is calling 911, performing CPR, and using a defibrillator. 

"We had two saves just this past year," she said. "One was a 16-year-old boy who collapsed playing basketball in a park, and the second save was a week later and was a 12-year-old girl who was playing soccer when she collapsed.”

Cara McLean, a Grade 4 teacher at Warminster Elementary School, lost her 23-year-old brother to cardiac arrest back in 1999.

“He collapsed on the street and an ambulance was called,” she remembers. “The time it took for the ambulance to get there was just over ten minutes and by that time Jason had been delivered to the hospital and he had passed.”

While the average age of a cardiac arrest is over 40 years old, McLean reminds the community that it could happen to anyone, at any time.

“I cannot express enough as to how important it is for us here in Warminster, and for my family with a history of cardiac arrest, to have access to this AED service,” she said.

“I’m grateful that the automatized external defibrillators are now placed at many public locations and can be used by anyone to shock the heart of a victim in hopes of restoring the heart to a normal rhythm.”

If McLean’s brother received the shock of an AED machine, such as the one that was just installed at Warminster Elementary School, she is convinced her brother would have had a much better chance of surviving.

Hennig hopes the Warminster community initiative will inspire others to sponsor and bring SaveStations to community spaces.


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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