Community involvement and CPR/Defibrillator training saves lives

Studies show that the most important part of surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is early bystander involvement. When members of the public begin effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) before the arrival of professional responders, survival rates increase greatly.

In 2002 Halton Region Council made a commitment to strengthen the Cardiac Chain of Survival in our Local Municipalities. Since then:

  • Nearly 300 AED have been placed in Regional, Municipal, school and private sector sites throughout Halton.
  • Over 5,000 people have been trained in CPR and AED use.
  • Halton paramedics and hospitals are better prepared, equipped and trained to manage cardiac arrest.
  • Halton is widely recognized as a leader in adapting new practices and resuscitation programs.

This community wide commitment is delivering very real results. In 2005 seven people in Halton survived out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. In 2010 that number rose to 31 survivors. Most of these additional “saves” were as a result of bystander involvement. In order to make sure this trend continues it is important that we each take the time to learn CPR and AED use.

Last month, Regional Councillors and I participated in a very worthwhile CPR and AED training session (view 2 photos ).  We had the opportunity to learn that there are new and easier guidelines for effective CPR from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada External Link. There is now more emphasis on performing good chest compressions and less emphasis on mouth-to-mouth breathing. I was impressed that the AED is also very easy to use and even gives audio instructions to the user. I encourage you all to participate in a training session like this, as few hours spent learning and practising these simple skills can give you the confidence that you need to save someone’s life. 

I am very proud that at Halton Region we have one of the best emergency medical services response times in Ontario but the more people who are trained in CPR/AED use and the faster people start doing CPR and defibrillation, the better a person’s chances are of survival.

Saving the lives of cardiac arrest victims is really a simple numbers game – the communities with the highest number of people trained in CPR/AED have the highest percentage of people who survive cardiac arrest. By getting trained in CPR/AED you will be helping to keep survival rates on the rise and will continue to show why Halton Region is a great place to live, play, work, and retire.

For more information on CPR and AED training visit the Halton EMS training webpage. 

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”