Every day in Canada, about 100 people will experience cardiac arrest.
It could happen anywhere — a hockey rink, a public pool, a park.
Without warning, a person’s heart will stop beating and blood will stop circulating, denying oxygen to the brain, heart and other vital organs.
Within minutes, the brain can start to die.
Thanks to various fundraising initiatives and donations across Oro-Medonte Township, local residents and visitors to the municipality will be able to rest a little easier knowing if an emergency arises, there are new, publicly accessible SaveStations in five township parks. Inside each SaveStation is an automated external defibrillator (AED).
Members of township council and staff were joined by about three dozen fundraisers and supporters at Bayview Memorial Park on Thursday morning to cut the ribbon and unveil the AED installed there in honour of former deputy mayor Scott Jermey, who was a passionate supporter of having AEDs available in all local parks.
“Time is everything,” said Deb Hennig, president of Action First Aid. “When someone collapses and has a cardiac arrest, we have four minutes before brain damage sets in and 10 minutes before there’s irreversible brain damage.”
The likelihood of paramedics getting to a rural park like Bayview within the first few minutes isn’t great, Hennig noted, adding that’s why the publicly accessible units are important.
“The public is empowered to step in and do something before EMS arrives,” she said. “It’s a really great complement.”
The units are easy to use.
“Simply put your hands on either side of the red cabinet and pull directly down,” Hennig instructed. “Once the cabinet is open, there’s an alarm that alerts other people that there’s an emergency. Then you grab the AED that’s inside and run to the person in need.”
According to the Heart and Stroke Association of Canada, if a person who is experiencing a cardiac arrest receives cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use an AED, chances of surviving are doubled.
SaveStations can now be found at Bayview Memorial Park (687 Lakeshore Rd. E.), Shelswell Park (118 Lakeshore Rd. W.), Shanty Bay Park (1950 Ridge Rd. W.), Danny McHugh Park (1885 Warminster Sideroad) and Sweetwater Park (3353 Line 6 N.).
To ensure the community knows how to use an AED in an emergency, Action First Aid is hosting free interactive training sessions. The first one will be held Monday, Sept. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Sweetwater Park. The second session will be held Tuesday, Sept. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at St. Thomas Anglican Church, located in Shanty Bay at 28 Church St.