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Public Access Defibrillator Saves Hockey Players Life

Web posted on August 18, 2014

GUELPH, ON, August 15, 2014 The City's emergency respondersfire, police and EMSare highlighting the importance of having public access defibrillators (PADs) in community spaces.

On Thursday, August 14, a 9-1-1 call was made from the University of Guelph sports arena to report that a 49-year-old hockey player had collapsed and was without vital signs.

As fire and EMS personnel were dispatched to the call, Guelph Police Constable Stu Robertson and Campus Community Police Sgt. Steve Forbes, who were already at the university, were first to arrive on scene.

Rink staff brought the PAD to the scene. A PAD or automatic external defibrillator is a portable electronic device used to get a heart back to its natural rhythms by delivering an electrical shock to the heart during a cardiac arrest.

After the initial shock, the patient regained a pulse.

"There is no doubt in my mind that public access to a PAD and the quick actions of Constable Robertson, Sgt. Forbes, and university rink staff paved the way for such a positive outcome. Their actions saved the life of a man with a family, and he is now on the road to recovery," says Shawn Armstrong, general manager of the City's Emergency Services.

Robin Begin, director of Campus Community Police, Fire Prevention and Parking Services adds, "This incident is another great example of the important community partnerships that the emergency responders share in the city."

Through the Ontario Defibrillator Access Initiative the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, in partnership with Guelph-Wellington Emergency Medical Services (GWEMS), has placed PADs across Guelph and Wellington County since 2006, and have trained hundreds of people to use them at no cost to the sites.

To date there are 122 PADs in City- and County-owned facilities, including community centres, libraries, and Guelph City Hall. The university has also placed PADs in some of its buildings, all of its athletic facilities and emergency vehicles.

"Across Guelph there have been many examples of the successful use of PADs, which support and strengthen the chain of survival for persons experiencing a cardiac event," says Armstrong, adding, "We will continue to advocate for the placement of PADs, coordinate the required CPR training and provide on duty paramedics to assist Heart and Stroke Foundation trainers with teaching CPR skills."

Why CPR and defibrillators?
Research has shown that CPR and an external defibrillator can dramatically increase the chances of survival for victims of sudden cardiac arrest. In Ontario, about 7,000 people annually suffer from out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest.

For every minute that passes without help, a person's chance of surviving a cardiac arrest drops by seven to 10 per cent. With early CPR and the application of a defibrillator, the chance of survival can increase by up to 75 per cent.

PADs are very safe, easy to use and easy to maintain. CPR is a relatively easy skill to learn and can be taught in a short period of time. (Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario)

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