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Defibrillator training program debuts in Canada


April 9, 2008
By Greater Toronto Airport Authority

April 9, 2008, Toronto - The first of its kind in Canada, today the GTAA launched the largest public access defibrillation program at Toronto Pearson  International Airport in partnership with the Medtronic Foundation.


Every year in
Canada, approximately 40,000 people die from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA); that's more than 110 people per day across the country. SCA, an electrical malfunction of the heart, can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime. The best chances of survival come from early defibrillation. Every passing minute after SCA occurs, the chances of successful defibrillation of the heart decreases by seven to 10 per cent.

It is because of these startling statistics that more than 190 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can be found at various locations around Toronto Pearson International Airport. These machines save lives. The Heart Cart Program will serve to educate the travelling public as well as airport employees on the use of AEDs as well as the basics of CPR. The Cart, which will move around to different locations within Terminal 1, will be staffed by GTAA Emergency Services personnel who will provide a 3-4 minute
presentation to anyone interested in being educated on these life saving devices.

"More than 31 million passengers travel through Toronto Pearson each year, and we are pleased to be able to offer this educational opportunity that might allow them to one day save a life. These machines provide a valuable service to someone suffering from cardiac arrest, giving them a much greater chance of survival. The more people that know how to use them properly, the better," says Lloyd McCoomb, president and CEO of the GTAA.

Through its HeartRescue program, The Medtronic Foundation has partnered with more than 150 communities and organizations around the world and provided them with grants, such as the Heart Cart, to promote the benefits of early defibrillation and public access to AEDs. Toronto Pearson is pleased to join Minneapolis-St. Paul, Dallas-Fort Worth and London Heathrow airports as participants in the Medtronic Heart Cart program.

"Anyone can save a life," said Lynda Pike, chairperson, Medtronic Foundation, Canada chapter. "The more people know about sudden cardiac arrest and AEDs, the more lives can be saved. Through the Heart Cart and other community programs, we hope to help more and more people recognize when sudden cardiac arrest occurs, and we aim to make them comfortable and confident in using AEDs."