Published on March 28th, 2012 in the Napanee Guide
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, up to 45,000 cardiac arrests occur in the province each year.
This year, Progressive Conservative MPP Randy Hillier joins Conservative MP Scott Reid in providing funding for small towns and communities to acquire Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) with the Community AED Challenge, devices that can save lives.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation says that timely defibrillation can improve survival rates by up to 30 per cent, and having defibrillators easily accessible has the potential to save thousands of lives.
"When someone has a serious health problem you never know when or where that's going to happen," says MPP Randy Hillier. "But moments can make an absolute difference in whether a person recovers or not. Greater availability and dispersion of them in communities do a marvelous job in having them right there, and not having to wait for a paramedic or land ambulance to survive."
The Community AED Challenge offers communities a chance to acquire an AED and have 50 per cent of the cost covered by the Canadian Heartland Foundation. Reid and Hillier hope that community centres, arena, seniors centres, and other public buildings across their riding of Lanark, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington Counties. A defibrillator costs approximately $1,200 these days, so applicants will have to raise approximately $600 to cover half the cost of the device.
The need to have a defibrillator installed in a frequently-used public building is especially great in rural communities, where emergency response might take longer to arrive than in major city centres.
"In our riding we have a lot of geography, and in some place there are not a lot of people, and these otherwise wouldn't be available to them," says Hillier. "I am pleased to be part of this initiative. This program demonstrates that private citizens and community groups have the ability to improve health care services without the long delays and encumbrances. There is ample evidence from our region that these devices save lives; the Canada Heartland Foundation is further facilitating a successful plan."
Applicants are encouraged to fill out the application form as soon as possible, and Scott Reid's website says the deadline for applying is May 1. Once applications are in, a specially-formed board will review them and decide the best locations for placing AEDs.
"We've constructed an impartial but knowledgeable board to make the decisions," says Hillier. "There will be members of the board from each of the counties in our riding, who are involved in land ambulance service. They're the ones who will have the keenest insight and most practical knowledge in where there are gaps in the availability of AEDs in the community."
For more information about how to apply for this program, visit www.scottreid.ca and click on the Community AED Challenge tab. From there you can download the application form.