Four brand new defibrillators recently were installed in new locations around the district to help save lives in the event of a cardiac emergency.
So far, Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) have been used three times in the district during a medical crisis.
With roughly 40,000 cardiac arrests in Canada each year, “it is only a matter of time until the next use,” said Rainy River EMS deputy chief Chad Buist.
The new AEDs are strategically located at the Chapple North Station (3562 Highway 71), the Chapple South Station (62 Queen St. in Barwick), the Emo Fire Station (17B Canning Lane), and the La Vallee Fire Station (56 Church Road in Devlin).
“With the leading cause of death for firefighters being cardiac arrest, we want to make sure each station is equipped with at least one AED,” noted Chapple, Emo, La Vallee & Alberton Fire Chief Josh Colling.
“So in the event something does happen, we are giving our personnel the best chance possible to come home to their families.”
There now are 76 units stationed around the district, with more than 15 located at schools, public facilities, arenas, and community centres in Fort Frances alone.
Each unit is on record with a 9-1-1 dispatch centre so in the event of a cardiac arrest, the dispatcher can direct you to the nearest AED while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
For each minute that passes when sudden cardiac arrest strikes, the victim loses another 10 percent chance of survival, so it’s important to act fast.
No training is needed to deploy an AED and Chief Colling encourages anyone to use one when needed.
“There’s no fear to using it,” he stressed. “It will even coach you through what to do.
“Don’t be afraid to use the AED.”
Chief Colling also stressed that if something tragic does happen, call 9-1-1 right away, start chest compressions, and then get the AED on them as soon as possible.
“AEDs are so easy to use and they’re such a mechanism of a way [that] the public can help,” he explained.
Although no training is required to use an AED, Chief Colling recommends the public take a CPR/AED course.
The Rainy River DSSAB can set up training with paramedics or CPR instructors.
The DSSAB can be contacted by calling 274-5349.