The province is urging owners of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) to register their devices with a life-saving online database.
There are currently 45 AEDs in the registry but many more remain unregistered at private businesses, community facilities and homes across the Island.
Registration is voluntary and free and can be done in less than five minutes by visiting www.bleepingeasy.com or by calling 902-569-7653.
In addition, information sessions will be held across the province in May and a video series will inform Islanders about the new registry and about the importance of AEDs.
More than 200 registration letters were sent in February to federal, provincial and municipal governments, fire departments, recreation facilities, schools, churches and other community organizations.
The AED registry will go live this summer once the database has been sufficiently populated and a live testing phase has been completed. With the registry in place, Island EMS and the emergency medical dispatcher can advise the caller assisting the individual in sudden cardiac arrest of the nearest publicly accessible defibrillator, direct the caller to either retrieve it or ask someone else for assistance, and provide instructions on how to use it until paramedics arrive.
Announced last December, the AED registry is operated in partnership with Health P.E.I., Heart and Stroke P.E.I., Island EMS and MEDACOMAtlantic.
“Sudden cardiac arrest survival starts with early CPR intervention and use of an AED by the public before the paramedics arrive,’’ said Darcy Clinton, Island EMS paramedic chief and general manager of MEDACOM Atlantic. “Having an AED registry is essential for Islanders and we are happy to provide that support.’’
Sarah Crozier, health promotion manager for Heart and Stroke P.E.I., said the more AEDs logged with the registry, the better access and the better the chances of survival for people experiencing cardiac arrest outside of hospital.
“Improved access and increased, early use will result in better outcomes for Islanders,’’ Crozier said.
Up to 40,000 cardiac arrests occur in Canada each year, or one every 13 minutes.
A portable, electronic AED evaluates a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s heart rhythm, determines if shock is needed, and delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart.
An AED will not accidentally shock someone as it reads the heart rhythm and only delivers a shock if needed.
The AED registry is integrated with Island EMS’ emergency medical dispatch protocol launched in September as well as the computer assisted dispatch software used by Island EMS.
The AED registry information sessions will be held as follows from 7-8 p.m. – May 8, Souris Regional High School; May 9, Montague Consolidated School; May 10, Colonel Gray High School in Charlottetown; May 14, O’Leary Elementary School; May 17, Summerside Intermediate School; May 23, Wellington Fire Department (session offered in French).