BREAKING NEWS! Ontario Bill 141 received royal assent in June 2020.
Bill 141 is the Defibrillator Registration and Public Access Act, 2020. This new legislation will increase public access to life saving AEDs. We are very excited about how many lives will be saved as a result of this bill. The bill is currently with the Ministry of Health to develop the necessary regulations.
Here is a summary of what the bill includes
- AEDs will be REQUIRED in public premises
- AEDs will be REQUIRED in other designated premises
- AEDs will be REQUIRED to be installed in the correct locations
- AEDs will be REQUIRED to have appropriate signage
- AEDs will be REQUIRED to be maintained & tested
- AED training will be REQUIRED
- AEDs will be REQUIRED to be registered with 911
In Canada over 40,000 people per year die of sudden cardiac arrest. This is one person every 12 minutes and over 100 people per day. When an AED is readily available a person’s chance of survival goes from 5% with CPR alone with 75% with an AED and CPR together.
In evaluating the different problems in our country sudden cardiac arrest is a problem for which we have a solution already. The issue has simply been that we have not acted to ensure that AEDs are readily available when needed. Think of the children whose parent will now come home due to an AED being available and helping to save their life.
Many public buildings already have AEDs. The legislation will also ensure that buildings have the correct number of AEDs in the correct locations with the proper signage. In the past people have often just added one unit and considered that it was sufficient. Many buildings currently do not have enough AEDs and some units are even hidden away and not accessible.
Like any piece of equipment, maintenance and training are very important. It is imperative that the AED stay in good working order and that people know how to use them when needed. A person does not need to have received formal training to use an AED, but it may help them to be more comfortable using an AED and they may act more quickly and confidently as a result.
By having AEDs registered 911 dispatchers will be able to tell the caller where the closest AED is to their location. Sadly, there have been many instances where an AED was close by, but the caller or dispatcher were not aware.
The reason that it is so critical for AEDs to be in buildings is that a person who experiences sudden cardiac arrest only has approximately 10 minutes to survive. With each minute that passes a person’s chance of survival goes down by 10% per minute that defibrillation is delayed. After three minutes a person’s brain starts to die due to lack of oxygen. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends a rapid collapse-to-shock goal of 3 minutes to give the victim the greatest chance of survival. It would be great if EMS was able to arrive in time to help most people who are experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, but logistically this is simply not possible.
AEDs technology has improved significantly over the past 20 years. Some newer units actually provide real time CPR feedback to tell the rescuer if they are doing CPR correctly and if not advise them on what to change. “Monitoring of CPR quality is arguably one of the most significant advances in resuscitation practice in the past 20 years and one that should be incorporated into every resuscitation” AHA CPR Quality Consensus Statement, Circulation. 2013;128; pg. 420.
One new unit even allows the rescuer to push a button to switch between an adult or child rescue. Previously, companies would need to purchase separate adult and child pads and switch them in a rescue as necessary. Prices on AEDs have continued to decrease and most units now cost less than $2,000,00. AEDs are very simple to use and tell the user exactly what to do with visual and/or audible instructions.
People need not worry about hurting someone when using an AED. The unit is able to analyze a person’s heart rhythms to determine if a shock is needed. An AED will not shock a normal heart rhythm.
The Ontario government has in the past, passed several bills that protect people from any liability associated from performing CPR or using an AED. They are the Good Samaritan Act https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/01g02 and the Chase McEachern Act https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/07c10.
People in the first aid industry have been lobbying for years for AEDs to become required. This bill is the first step towards having AEDs required in all buildings similar to fire extinguishers. Amazingly, many people already know how to use AEDs because First Aid/CPR training programs started including AED training as part of their programs years ago. Thankfully the government is now catching up with this current legislation.
The Defibrillator Registration and Public Access Act, 2020 has been a long time coming.
By making AEDs more accessible many lives will be saved. It may even be your life or someone you care about whose life is saved by an AED being available when it is needed.
Vita First Aid is here to help you every step of the way. Please contact us with any questions.
Working together we can help save many lives.
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