Making Defibrillation More Accessible: The BC AED Registry

When someone collapses during a cardiac emergency, every second counts. How you respond can make all of the difference. The good news is that you now have increased chances of getting help sooner. The BC PAD Program in collaboration with the BC Ambulance Service have launched the BC AED Registry, a repository for businesses and organizations to register their Automated External Defibrillators (AED) to be publicly accessible in emergency situations.

AED Registry

The AED Registry is a service which enables 911 dispatchers to identify the location of the nearest AED registered in the database. The dispatcher will then instruct the person on site to have someone retrieve the device and begin CPR.

Laurie Lowes, Manager of Health and Safety at London Drugs has been a major proponent of the AED Registry in BC. “We were the first retailer to place AEDs in all of our retail stores in 2009 and now we’ve added the AEDs to the registry, it was the right thing to do. At the end of the day, it’s not just about serving customers, it’s about saving lives.” With this, over 1,000 of their staff have been trained in CPR and are prepared to respond to emergency situations if they arise.London Drugs AEDs - AED Registry

Along with London Drugs, Iridia Medical has been a strong supporter of the AED Registry. “The launch of the AED Registry is a critical link in the chain of survival that can potentially save more lives in our communities” says Dr. Allan Holmes, founder of Iridia Medical.

In 2013 alone, the BCEHS responded to 3,068 cardiac arrests. Sudden Cardiac Arrests are the leading cause of non-accident deaths among British Columbians. Along with the registry, the provincial government and Heart and Stroke foundation are working to have 750 defibrillators installed throughout the province.

Organizations that received an AED from the BC PAD Program have already had their devices added to the BC AED Registry. If you have a business or organization which has an AED near a public area, you can register your device through the BC PAD Website.

We’ve created a convenient registration guide for people wishing to sign up. Download it here.

Any client who has purchased an AED from Iridia Medical can reach out if they are in need of device specific information for registering their device.

Enhancing First Responder SkillSets: EpiPens

Fire Fighter FIrst Responder LicenseIn this blog series, we’re going to discuss how we’ve helped many British Columbia fire departments enhance their patient care skills in order to provide better care in the field.

Firefighters are often the first emergency response personnel on the scene of an emergency, but are not permitted to use certain medical devices, like an epi auto-injector.   When there are BC Ambulance service delays or firefighters find themselves in remote rescue scenarios, it is beneficial to the patient if firefighters have the skills to assist patients to use life-saving medications.   This is why Iridia Medical continues to support first responders improving their patient care skills.

These days, firefighters can be in direct contact with BCAS dispatchers – key information about a patient’s condition can be immediately communicated between both parties.  This removes ambiguity and allows the BCAS to monitor and guide firefighters on how to best assist a patient with their Epi-pen.  With this enhanced communication and improved skillsets, firefighters are able to provide better patient care.   “We have taken an active role in providing this training because it is the right thing to do for patients” says Dr. Allan Holmes, Founder of Iridia Medical.  “What kind of care would you want a loved one to receive during a severe allergic reaction?” is the logic behind offering epi-pen training.

Today’s example will look at how Epinephrine Auto-injectors can positively impact patient outcomes.

Epinephrine Auto-injector

Considerable educational efforts have been undertaken so that teachers, coaches, and babysitters feel confident administering epi auto-injectors.  Unfortunately, firefighters with first responder licenses are not provided the same discretion.

Iridia has been actively supporting and training fire first responders to assist patients with administering their epi auto-injectors in emergency situations.  We support fire first responders enhancing their patient care skillset because:

  • Fire first responders are often first on the scene of a medical emergency – waiting several minutes for an ambulance to administer an epi auto-injector could negatively impact the patient.
  • Currently, fire first responders and BCAS can only administer oxygen to a patient they believe is having an allergic reaction – there is no provision in their current  training program to instruct FR on how  to assist a patient with an epi auto-injector.

epi pen auto injector

In the best case scenario, the patient is lucid enough to administer their epi auto-injector.  However, if a patient is panicking and can’t self-administer the medication (or has fallen unconscious), Iridia has trained first responders to act.  Our epi auto-injector program teaches first responders how to recognize allergic reaction indicators as well as when and how an epi-pen should be used[1]; and just as important, when it should not be used – skills we believe every first responder should know.

During a serious allergic reaction every second counts.  Delaying the administration of epinephrine can have serious consequences.  Providing first responders the discretion to assist and administer epi auto-injectors when they arrive on the scene of an allergic reaction emergency has the potential to significantly improve a patient’s outcome and reduces the potential for a sometimes fatal outcome.  

[1] Upon patient consent and oversight support from BCAS dispatch.

We Can Help Enhance Your First Responder Skills

Enhancing patient care skills requires coordinating many moving parts.  Training, equipment, and a medical oversight framework need to be considered.  In addition, it’s important that fire departments understand current regulations and the limitations of their current first responder license.  Over the past decade, Iridia Medical has successfully assisted fire departments of all sizes in implementing Epi auto-injector, pulse oximeter, and blood pressure measurement programs.

To learn more, contact Jason Bradley (jbradley@iridiamedical.com), Fire Services Program Lead, to get you started.

 

 

A Look at the Sun Peaks EMR Pilot

Sun Peak Fire Rescue

Sun Peaks

Sun Peaks Fire Rescue is a rare department. Staffed by 3 full-time fire officers and 20 volunteer firefighters, they have made significant improvements in meeting the emergency response needs of Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality.

These improvements were driven by the need for trained emergency response personnel to attend at the scene of an incident promptly where BC Ambulance paramedics were unable to do so.  To meet this need, Fire Chief Bill Stoner lobbied for his firefighters to improve their pre-hospital emergency skills and training.  As a result of his efforts, Sun Peaks was one of two B.C. fire departments chosen for a pilot project allowing firefighters to use the Emergency Medical Response (EMR) protocols.  SPFR then embarked on the process of upgrading their training of their firefighters to the EMR level. 

Having completed the EMR upgrade and with the assistance of Iridia, Sun Peaks Fire Rescue entered into a pre-hospital care consultation process. Included in this consultation process were the Emergency Health Services Commission, the BC Ambulance Service, BC Ambulance paramedics and emergency room physicians. Through this collaboration, a defined framework was established within which EMR skills could be utilized by the Sun Peaks firefighters. 

Emergency Medical Responder protocols outline the roles and responsibilities of firefighters and paramedics who respond to a medical emergency on-scene. The goal of the protocols is to quickly identify and respond to any potential life threatening medical emergency.

Using the EMR protocols provides firefighters with better tools to attend to a patient’s needs. It allows firefighters to use additional pain relief as well as immobilization tools when responding to emergency situations.

The EMR pilot is an ongoing effort. At this point, the pilot has improved documentation on patient care and interaction between Sun Peaks firefighters, paramedics and physicians. Further improvements in this pre-hospital care will be made throughout the duration of the project and the citizens of Sun Peaks will enjoy the benefits of collaboration and innovation that this pilot project brings.

Comments from Sun Peaks Fire Chief Bill Stoner:

“Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality is a world class resort town which enjoys a number of outstanding facilities.  One facility that the town is lacking however is a British Colombia Ambulance Station.  As such, Sun Peaks depends on ambulance service from the neighbouring community of Kamloops.  Because of this lengthy wait for emergency transport, Sun Peaks Fire undertook a pilot project in 2011 which allows firefighters to operate at the level of Emergency Medical Responder (EMR).  It is believed that using EMR protocol will improve the level of pre-ambulance care that Sun Peaks Fire can offer its patients.
When Sun Peaks began utilizing EMR protocols its members recognized a number of significant benefits; firefighter’s patient assessment skills improved, so they were able to deliver better information to ambulance personnel; the ability to provide Nitro and ASA to patients showing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack was also unquestionably beneficial.   The benefit that provided the most profound impact however, was the ability to provide pain relief with Entonox.
 Although most patients who complain of severe pain are not suffering life threatening conditions, they are experiencing a situation that is distressing, not only to themselves but also to their families and friends, as well as to the first responders who attend the scene; it’s tough to watch someone suffer without being able to help.  Due to the 45 minute wait for an ambulance, Sun Peaks Fire’s patients have had to endure this pain.  With EMR protocol however, fire department members can use Entonox to assist with pain relief.  This relief makes the patient more comfortable and alleviates the stress suffered by friends, family and first responders. 
As Sun Peaks gathers its ongoing statistical data on the EMR Pilot and the potential effects and benefits in saving lives; one thing is for sure, delivering enhanced pre hospital care has allowed its members to provide much better service to the people in the community and great customer service is what Sun Peaks Fire strives to deliver.”

For more information on our service offerings for At Iridia we are thrilled to have the opportunity to have worked with Fire Chief Bill Stoner and Sun Peaks Fire Rescue in the development of the EMR program. We believe the EMR pilot is just the beginning. There is a bright future for BC fire departments and the delivery of pre-hospital care.