Heart and Stroke Foundation Receives $10 Million from Harper Government to Save Lives

February 21, 2013, SASKATOON – The Heart and Stroke Foundation was pleased to join Prime Minister Stephen Harper today as he announced funding to place life-saving automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in hockey arenas and community recreation centres across Canada.

In April 2011, the Government of Canada announced a $10 million dollar plan for AED placement over four years. Today’s announcement confirms the government’s commitment for funding that will allow the Foundation to coordinate the installation and training of AEDs starting in Spring 2013.

“We applaud the government for its commitment to AEDs. It has been proven countless times that AEDs and CPR save lives,” says David Sculthorpe, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.” Our goal is for every Canadian to learn CPR and how to use an AED.  Ensuring that all public facilities have access to an AED would not be possible without the support of governments and private donors.”

AEDs are electronic devices used to restart a person’s heart that has stopped beating. They are safe, easy to use, and can be operated effectively by the public. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can help restore blood flow to someone suffering cardiac arrest for a short time until advanced medical care arrives.

“Up to 40,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in Canada – that is about one every 12 minutes,” says Sculthorpe.  “On average only five per cent of people who experience a cardiac arrest survive. With increased public access to AEDs and early access to CPR, the lives of thousands of Canadians could be saved every year.”

Most cardiac arrests occur in homes and public places, and many are witnessed by a family member, co-worker or friend. Performing CPR and using an AED before emergency medical services arrive can increase the chance of survival by 75 per cent.

NHL hockey player Brett MacLean, 23, was revived by an AED last July after he suffered a cardiac arrest at a pick-up hockey game. “The AED saved my life, and it’s important for people to be trained,” said MacLean. “You never know when you might need it; it could happen to anyone, anywhere.”

The Foundation, with partners, trains approximately 1.6 million people every year in CPR and AED use.  Although training is important AEDs are still safe and easy to use by the general public.