Why every building needs an AED

why every building needs an AED

SCA can happen to anyone, any age, and anywhere. This is why every building should have an AED. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) affects 1 Canadian every 12 minutes, or about 40 000 people a year. SCA happens when there is an electrical issue with the heart. The heartbeat will stop or be quivering. Cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack because a heart attack is caused by circulatory and other physical problems with the heart. While various cardiac events can happen to healthy individuals at any age, it is becoming increasingly more common that younger employees, students, and athletes are experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

cpr, aed,

What is SCA?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) affects 1 Canadian every 12 minutes, or about 40 000 people a year, making SCA among the leading causes of death for Canadians each year. SCA happens when there is a change or stops in the heart’s rhythm. The heartbeat will stop or be quivering or rapid. SCA is different from a heart attack because a heart attack is caused by circulatory and other physical problems with the heart. In the event of SCA, an AED should be used immediately. It is best to use the defibrillator as soon as possible if the patient requires a shock, every minute that passes without one, that patients’ rate of survival and recovery decreases by 10%.

AED Units

What are the differences: Heart Attack, Stroke, and SCA?

A Heart attack is a circulatory problem when blood flow to the heart is blocked. A stroke is caused by some blockage or ruptured blood vessels in the brain, and sudden cardiac arrest is when there is a change or stops a heartbeat.

What are the warning symptoms of SCA

Often there are no symptoms before an SCA event.
When someone is experiencing cardiac arrest, they may be unconscious and not breathing with little, no, or rapid pulse.

Symptoms of SCA

Rapid or irregular heartbeat or palpitations
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
Fainting after exercise or startle
General chest pain or fatigue or shortness of breath especially
Chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath during exercise or after
Prolonged shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion and chest pain
Rapid or no pulse
Loss of consciousness with shallow or no breathing.

How do you know if you need an AED?

If you find someone unconscious, not breathing and unresponsive, or experiencing the above symptoms before losing consciousness, there is a high chance you will need an AED. It is good practice in any emergency to get an AED if there is one on-site. Many times, there won’t be visible signs of a cardiac episode, especially if the patient is already unconscious.

Can I accidentally use an AED on someone that doesn’t need it?

AED’s are designed only to allow shock in programmed situations. The machine will first analyze the patient’s heartbeat for any irregularities. The AED will only prompt the user to press the shock button if it detects little, rapid, or no heartbeat. If the shock button gets pushed, and the patient does not meet these requirements, the AED will not administer a shock.

How do I get an AED?

The urgent need for easy access to AEDs throughout our province and country has inspired the website you are on, the mission behind it. Operation Heart Heal and Aim For Life have launched a First Aid CPR/AED training program with a bigger purpose. For every full qualifying class, Operation Heart Heal is proud to donate an AED to that building, or another establishment that doesn’t have one.

We are working to provide Canadian Red Cross Certified first aid training to rural communities who don’t have access to first aid training, or emergency equipment such as EMS or AEDs. To find out more and see how you or someone else can get a free AED, contact us today!

Before you go! Save and Share this FREE guide to CPR!

how to perform cpr
CPR Info graphic, save & share to save a life!


How To Save A Life

Bystanders using CPR and an AED save up to 30 000 + lives a year. The use of these things together can very often be the difference in life or death of a cardiac event such as sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

How To Save A Life Using CPR

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and is the procedure of performing chest compressions and rescue breaths. This keeps oxygen pumping to vital organs until EMS arrives. AED is an Automated External Defibrillator, these are portable machines that can measure a person’s heartbeat and detect if it has stopped, and administer a sock in efforts to restart the heart.

The combination of these two things can raise survival rates from 20% to up to 60% or more.

Using CPR To Save A Life

The success of the CPR does vary from each situation and is not guaranteed however many times, CPR alone or CPR with an AED can save the person’s life, and should be attempted if possible.

Performing CPR and using an AED is very easy to do.
There are reports of children successfully saving lives by performing chest compressions (see examples here) with little actual training.

AEDs are very user-friendly. They come with easy to follow directions, units such as the Zoll AEDs we distribute provide CPR assistance with a built-in technology that can sense the depth and rate of your compressions and has audio prompts and an easy to read screen that can provide feedback and advice such as push harder, on the CPR.

CPR infographic, how to do cpr
How To Perform CPR. Share to help save.

How Do You Perform CPR?

Before starting First Aid & CPR, assess that the scene is safe enough for you to do so without putting yourself or the patient in additional risk.

911 – AED – CPR

It is essential for 911 to be called immediately.
If possible assign someone to call 911 and retrieve the AED as soon as possible.

If you are alone, call 911 first, get the AED and then begin rescue efforts.
The 911 operator will help you with CPR until EMS arrives.

Tap them on the shoulder and ask “Are You Ok?”

  1. Open Airway. It is ideal for the patient to be lying on their back. Tilt their head slightly to lift the chin.
  2. Check For Breathing. Listen (for no longer than 10 seconds) for breathing. If the person is not breathing, begin CPR.

If you’re not trained in CPR it is advised to not do the breaths if you’re not already familiar with how to give them. If you are CPR certified or confident in your ability to; then proceed with rescue breaths.

See how to perform rescue breaths below.

Steps Of CPR

Basic CPR Steps
  1. Position. Interlock fingers, Center Of Patients Chest.
    Interlock your fingers and place the heel of your hand on the center of their chest, interlock your fingers by placing the heel of your other hand, on top of the other hand. Keep your arms straight, keep your fingers raised so they do not touch the patient. 
  2. Give Compressions.

Compressions should be done with force and speed. Compressions should be 2” deep and done at a pace of 100 compressions a minute. If you are giving rescue breaths, do 30 compressions, and then deliver 2 rescue breaths.

How To Give Rescue Breaths

CPR rescue breathing how to do rescue breathing
Performing Rescue Breaths. Share and help save.

If you are not familiar already or haven’t been properly trained, it is advised to continue with CPR. If performing breaths follow these instructions.

  1. Open Airways
    Make sure the head is tilted and chin lifted slightly. 
  2. Pinch the nostrils closed with one hand, and support the chin with the other.
  3. Take a normal breath and place your mouth over theirs, making sure it is sealed so no air gets out. 
  4. Blow into the person’s mouth to make the chest rise, watch it fall. Deliver 2 rescue breaths and then continue with compressions. 

Continue CPR until emergency officials arrive, or if the patient starts breathing.

How To Use An AED

If an AED is available, use it before performing CPR.
Many AED units have technology that assists the person with CPR.

How to use an aed aed infographic aed steps
How To Use An AED
  1. Turn On AED. Follow the included instructions.
  2. Place Pads On the Chest & Push Analyze
  3. Administer Shock (If Advised)*
  4. Begin CPR.

Place the pads according to the AEDs instructions on the chest.
Push the analyze button and let AED read the patient’s heartbeat.
If no heartbeat is detected, the AED will inform you to administer a shock. 
If the AED prompts you to, push the shock button.

If no shock is required, the AED will inform you. Begin CPR after use.

Always make sure that you can do this without putting yourself or the patient in further danger. Ensure that the scene is safe from any hazards and that performing CPR won’t further injure the individual. Always call 9-1-1 first (or assign someone to) the operator will assist you in CPR until officials arrive. You do not need to be officially certified to perform CPR on someone, you just need to understand what you are doing, and be able to do it confidently. 


The Shocking Reality of Emergency Medical Services

Shocking Reality of Emergency Medical Services

Manitoba is home to just over a Million people (total), but with only 10 official cities, this leaves a large amount of the population living in smaller rural communities, towns, and reservations. Manitoba has many populated areas that are without any nearby hospital or other emergency medical services. In many of these cases, there is little to no dedicated emergency medical services. In areas where there is no round-the-clock emergency medical care, it is often left up to the local officials or fire and law enforcement departments. The reality is, that isn’t practical.

Anywhere that you have a community, there needs to be emergency medical resources.

Winnipeg in recent years has seen a trend of emergency room & other similar service closures in Winnipeg and surrounding areas. Winnipeg has started closing emergency rooms or converting to urgent care only, leaving Winnipeg technically, with only 3 official emergency rooms.

While these changes are said to benefit a bigger picture such as the city and health care, staff, quality of care, all of those kinds of things, it does still have an impact on overall emergency care, especially since this seems to be the transition phase from what our previous EMS structure was, to what it will be. This still leaves many areas within Winnipeg alone without an Emergency Room, meaning the average amount of time it takes to get to get to the nearest ER goes up, as does wait times and, in turn, affecting the over all quality of care.

This is why Operation Heart Heal has decided to take matters into their own hands with their AED donation program. By placing a huge emphasis First Aid Training and AED donation in rural and First Nations communities that don’t have access to hospitals or other regulated emergencies medical care. 

Operation Heart Heal hopes to help by providing these rural areas with sufficient First Aid & CPR Training, as well as matching full classes with the donation of an AED (automated external defibrillator) unit.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest affects 1 Canadian every 12 minutes, and that could be anyone.

Rural areas such as smaller communities, reserves, and towns make up a large portion of our population but are often over saught because individually, they are small in size. The majority of Cardiac arrests happen at home or other public spaces, and the survival rate of Cardiac Arrest episodes without an AED is significantly lower compared to those where an AED is able to be used. 

The bottom line is, if there is a population there, there needs to be care.

By getting AED units located in these areas, members of the community can better assist each other in emergencies. Having an AED around during Cardiac Arrest can literally be the difference between life and death in many scenarios. AED’s are very user-friendly, usually provide instance or instruction on use and CPR and only shocks if it is detected as necessary, with these facts in mind, we should be taking extra effort to have more units throughout public areas. Ideally, communities and cities should be planning the proper placement of publically accessible AED units in their areas and making them public knowledge. While many buildings such as large employment offices, malls, and other public areas do take measures to make sure there is one on their properties, it is not common practice by municipality officials to be making this a priority, in most areas. 

For more information on AED’s including how to use them and perform CPR, be sure to stop by our blog. Feel free to share this information with as many people as you’d like, and don’t forget to follow or subscribe for updates on our blog, including Operation Heart Heal’s mission progress. 

If you know of an organization that could use first aid training, an AED or other questions, including how to get First Aid CPR & AED Certified yourself, get in touch with us today!


What Is an AED? How Do You Use It?

what is an AED and how to use them

What does AED stand for? 

AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator, it is a portable life-saving device used to measure and aid in correcting the rhythm of a patient’s heart rate.

How does an AED work?

The AED works by being able to read and assess the patient’s heart rhythm through pads that are placed on the patient’s chest. The AED will then assess the patient’s heartbeat and if it has stopped and only if it is necessary, it will advise the user to push a button that will administer a shock to try and get the heart beating properly again.

While all AED’s are designed for the same primary function, not all AED units are the same. For example, the Zoll AED unit that Operation Heat Heal donates provides the user with real-time CPR feedback on the rate and depth of CPR chest compressions being administered to the patient. This makes the AED very user-friendly so that any motivated bystander may operate in the event of a cardiovascular emergency.

How do you use an AED?

Zoll AED Unit in display case

The first step is to ensure emergency services have been called, or someone has been assigned to call them and is doing so. Using an AED and CPR does not replace the need for emergency services, and they should be called immediately and will be able to provide over the phone assistance if needed as well.

How To Operate An AED:

  • Turn on the AED.
  • Remove clothing from the chest, cutting the material if it is necessary.
  • Ensure the chest is bare, and dry, if the patient is wet, dry the chest area.
  • Attach the AED pads & plug in the connector (if necessary).
  • Follow the images & instructions included in the AED for pad placement on the chest.
  • Ensure no one, yourself included, is touching the patient. Ask everyone to “stand clear”.
  • Push the analyze button.
  • If the AED instructs you to, then push the shock button. Again ensure everyone is standing clear.
  • Begin CPR after the shock. Continue to follow the AED’s instructions.

If possible, stay with the patient until emergency services arrive and continue CPR if necessary.

Where are AED units located?

As of yet, there aren’t any specific locations for AED units specifically. Many public locations such as schools, malls, and large employment offices usually have at least one AED accessible, many cases one on every floor.

How Can You Get An AED

The good news AED units ARE easily accessible, they just need willing individuals to seek out having them at their locations. If you are looking to purchase an AED you can get them online or you can contact an AED distributor in your area like Aim For Life.