Thanks to a program of the BC Heart and Stroke Foundation, in co-operation with the CCRD, Bella Coola has received five AED’s over the past three years, starting with one at Centennial Pool.
Other locations include the Co-op store (just inside the east door by the Dollar Store/Library), Nuxalk Hall, Lobelco Hall, and most recently, outside the office at the Bella Coola Wharf.
Two additional machines were made available to our high schools through the Ontario-based program, ACT, whose goal is to train all high school students to be able to give CPR in an emergency. These are located at SAMS and Acwsaltca schools just outside the gym doors.
An AED or automatic external defibrillator is an important lifesaving device that anyone can use! When it detects an irregular pulse, it delivers an electric shock that can re-start a heart.
Once the device is removed from its case it ‘talks to the user’ indicating what steps are to be taken. It is used in conjunction with CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation ) while volunteer first responders are waiting for an ambulance to arrive on the scene.
Studies show that when there is a cardiac arrest (a stoppage of the heart) there is a 10 minute window for action, meaning that the heart needs to be restarted within 10 minutes in order for there to be optimal recovery. You cannot wait for an ambulance to arrive. AED’s are safe and easy to use.
A person at an emergency scene should call 911, (actually 1 800 461 9911 in Bella Coola) once it is determined that someone is unresponsive, then ask for someone to get an AED as soon as possible and start CPR.
When an AED arrives, and is hooked up to the chest it reads the heart beat and advises when to press the button to deliver a shock and when to continue with CPR.
There are several reasons why a heart could stop including choking, suffocation, drowning, drug overdose, electrocution, anaphylaxis, as well as a stroke or heart attack.
Approximately 40,000 people experience cardiac arrest each year in Canada. That’s someone every 12 minutes, so you never know when or where this could happen. Get some basic First Aid Training, and know where to quickly find the nearest AED!
Individuals or groups interested in further information or training are invited to contact Coleen Fraser. You can also access a 22 minute video (CPR Anytime) on the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s website (www.heartandstroke.ca). Let’s make Bella Coola a safer place to live, play and work!