April 30, 2007
For immediate release
Government Funds Defibrillator Units for Island Rinks
Community and Cultural Affairs
This investment will equip facilities with life-saving assistance, said Minister MacFadyen. Since cardiac incidents have been known to occur in recreation facilities, it makes sense that having these units on hand can contribute to actually saving lives.
In Canada, 35,000 to 45,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest each year. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada says that early defibrillation is the intervention that is most likely to improve survival rates.
The defibrillator units are being supplied as part of the Healthy Rink Initiative, which was implemented in September 2005 by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs in partnership with the PEI Recreation and Facilities Association. The program is designed to promote healthy food choices in the canteens, foster a healthy social environment, and provide a healthy physical environment in arenas. To date, through this initiative, government has provided assistance for arena safety netting and carbon monoxide monitors.
I want to recognize the PEI Recreation and Facilities Association for working with government on this project, the Minister added. This partnership will continue to allow everyone involved in the delivery of sport and recreation in the province feel confident that we are providing safe, quality environments where Islanders and visitors can engage in healthy active pursuits.
Sudden cardiac arrest is the sudden and unexpected loss of heart function in a person.
Signs of cardiac arrest include: no breathing, no movement or response to initial rescue breaths, and no pulse.
CPR helps to maintain circulation and ventilation in a victim of cardiac arrest for a short period of time but is unlikely to convert ventricular fibrillation to a normal heart rhythm. Restoring a normal heart rhythm requires defibrillation to be provided within a few minutes of the arrest.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends that Canadians have widespread access to automated external defibrillators.
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a device containing sophisticated electronics used to identify cardiac rhythms, and to deliver a shock to correct abnormal electrical activity in the heart. An AED will only advise the individual using the device to deliver a shock if the heart is in a rhythm which can be corrected by defibrillation.
An AED is an efficient and effective means of achieving rapid defibrillation in both the out-of-hospital and in-hospital setting. They are safe, easy to use, and can be used effectively by trained medical and non-medical individuals.
For every one minute delay in defibrillation, the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim decreases by 7 to 10%. After more than 12 minutes of ventricular fibrillation, the survival rate of adults is less than 5%.6
(Additional information from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada website: www2.heartandstroke.ca)