Heartbeat of the community gets a helping hand

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September 23, 2014 9:34 AM

There was great pleasure, and some secrecy, surrounding an important announcement by Wendy Plandowski of the LRHF Lloydminster Regional Health Foundation (LRHF) at the Lloydminster Rotary Club luncheon Sept. 15. She announced, “We have decided that there are gaps when to comes to the installation of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in Saskatchewan.”

After looking at where these portable defibrillators are stationed, Plandowski said, “What we discovered was that there was a few demographic sections that were missing something as vital as an AED.” She reminded people that it wasn’t just seniors who need the AEDs.

“With our board’s help and endorsement, we took on the project of actually purchasing 35 AEDs for our community,” said Plansdwski. “So, I am excited to announce what we’re calling the heartbeat of the community. In Canada, 35,000 to 45,000 people die of a sudden cardiac arrest each year. And this occurs with a frequency of roughly one per one thousand people, 35 years of age or older.

“Almost half our population in Lloydminster falls within this age range. For every one minute delay in defibrillation, the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim decreases by 10 per cent. The fact of the matter is that in some cases, calling 911 and getting an ambulance or EMT to the scene isn’t fast enough. You actually have to have on-site care.

“AEDs have been used officially and effectively in communities that combine the use of an AED with CPR and activating emergency medical services improved survivability by 75 per cent.”

Some scary statistics, but it seems the LRHF is on the ball.

“I am thrilled to announce, we will be defending our part of that care beyond the hospital walls and emergency services by placing 35 of these units within the Lloydminster region,” said Plandowski.

These units are designed for the specific purpose of emergency use by non-professionals. That doesn’t mean anyone and his sister can use them, but anyone and his sister who have received training can. With the 35 additional units that are on the way, Plandowski said training is part of the project.

Focusing in on where these units are needed, it was learned that some seniors’ lodges and community facilities do not have the AEDs. “It’s even a longer response time for EMTs and emergency crews to get out to those locations,” said Plandowski, adding that they are looking at some locations out of the city as well.

“Because we really do serve our regional perspective when it comes to health care.”

These units are being purchased through the LRHF cardiac care fund. Over the years a number of people have wanted to donate to this type of cause, and they are still looking for community donors. “Because AEDs are not cheap,” said Plandowski.

By the time the units arrive, the cost of a unit is estimated to be around $2,000 each.

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