A program that puts automated external defibrillators in public buildings and businesses is running out of cash.
The Public Access to Defibrillation Program was started around a decade ago by the Fort McMurray Firefighters Association and is run entirely on community donations.
The intention of the program is to reduce the number of deaths from sudden cardiac arrest by installing AED’s, which are proven to save lives in the event of a cardiac disturbance, such as a heart attack.
Spokesperson Pat Duggan tells Mix News they’ve put just under 50 AED machines in various places around Fort McMurray which have saved four peoples lives.
“There were some successes as well where the patient had a viable heart beat and pulse when the EMS crews arrived. Even before the ambulance showed up the people who were assisting were successful in bringing this person back. Where as it would have been not impossible for the crew to do it, but more difficult.”
The AED’s can be found at MacDonald Island Park, Keyano College, Unity House, the Royal Canadian Legion and larger gathering places. Each unit costs between $900-$1700, not including the cost of replacing the pads and batteries.
Duggan says they recently received a $5000 donation from the Legion, however, there’s currently a wait list for AED’s as the funding has slowed down.
“It would be terrible to have an incident at one of those places while they were waiting for something that’s such a simple thing to have and to use in place to save a life.”
He adds if you do come across a situation where someone has collapsed or unconscious ask the staff if they have a defibrillator.
“It has and will save lives.”
Anyone interested in receiving an AED or donating can contact the Fire Department’s main line at 780-792-5500