Fort Nelson Secondary now equipped to save lives!

Earlier this year, we highlighted a partnership we’d developed with the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation aimed at bringing CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training to the youth in our Province’s high schools – view here.

To recap, the ACT Foundation is a national charitable organization that is establishing CPR and defibrillator training programs in all Canadian high schools as a regular part of the school curriculum. The program is built on a model of establishing community-based partnerships and support, whereby ACT finds local partners to donate equipment – such as training mannequins, AED training units and AED units – that schools need to set up the program. Training is also a key component. Teachers in secondary schools are trained in CPR and defibrillator use and they, in turn, will act as instructors for their students. The aim of the program is to ensure that all youth prior to graduation could effectively treat someone who is having a sudden cardiac arrest.

ACT Foundation Training

In continued support of this program, Iridia teamed up again with the ACT Foundation and with BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) earlier this month to help bring the program to Fort Nelson Secondary School, with two teachers from this school participating in the teacher-training workshop. The workshop was delivered by BCAS’ paramedic and CPR instructor, Sirita Hoenen, who generously volunteered her time to teach the workshop. Iridia’s support comprised the donation of equipment – including AED training units and an AED – along with the provision of funding for the AED mannequins and program resources. As a result of the teacher-training conducted, over 70 Grade 10 students from Fort Nelson Secondary School will be trained annually by their teachers to potentially save lives.

“Increasing community access to AEDs and CPR training within BC has always been an important focus for Iridia”, said Vern Biccum, President of Iridia Medical. “Our company started with pioneering AED programs in the workplace and we have been active in bringing AEDs and CPR training to the community ever since. Collaborating with the ACT Foundation to now bring life-saving skills and equipment to the youth of our communities is an opportunity on which we place great importance and with which we’re proud to be associated.”

As a result of the program and Iridia’s participation in it, Fort Nelson Secondary School will now have an AED available for their use, along with the associated skills and knowledge, should a student, staff or visitor to the school suffer a sudden cardiac arrest.

Iridia will continue to partner with the ACT Foundation, with another workshop scheduled for June to be provided to schools in Kitimat and Terrace.

What is an AED Program?

The Impact of Cardiac Arrest

In Canada, 35,000 to 45,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year. Unlike a heart attack, which is caused by a blockage in an artery, SCA results from an electrical malfunction of the heart. The only effective treatment for this condition is the early delivery of an electric shock by an automated external defibrillator (AED). Response time is critical; for every minute of delay in delivering the shock, survival rates for SCA victims decrease by 7-10 percent.

cardiac arrest survival

The Solution

Recognizing the link between increased survival rates in SCA victims and the prompt use of a defibrillator, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) has recommended that all Canadians:

  • Have widespread access to automated external defibrillators.
  • Be trained and encouraged to apply cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED skills when needed.

When applied to the workplace, these recommendations entail implementing a program that makes AEDs readily available and ensures that staff are well prepared to use them when needed.

cardiac arrest

Our AED Program Process

Iridia provides an AED Program that includes three indispensable components:

1) The AED device, associated accessories, and servicing

Iridia is British Columbia’s sole distributor of LIFEPAK AEDs and we are a regional distributor of Powerheart G3 Plus AED. Both manufacturers are renown for their use of leading-edge technology, the reliability of their units, and after purchase service provided.

defibrillators

2) Initial and ongoing training

Managing a cardiac arrest involves more than merely “pushing the button” on an AED. Respondents must be able to recognize an arrest, perform CPR, and use a defibrillator properly. Our AED training workshops ensure that participants are able to respond effectively when the time comes.

3) Medical direction (a WorkSafeBC recommendation)

Iridia provides a medical direction package, consisting of the following components:

  • Emergency medical response procedures
  • Emergency Health Services liaison
  • Operational debriefing
  • Post incident call review
  • Physician consultation
  • Critical incident stress referrals

Our medical direction package is designed to maximize the value of your AED, and exceeds the recommendations from WorkSafeBC, the HSFC, and Health Canada.

Our Company

Since 1998, Iridia has overseen the training and certification of over 10,000 lay rescuers in the use of AEDs. Dr. Allan Holmes, a fellowship-trained Emergency Physician, is an expert in pre-hospital care and has worked extensively with Occupational First Aid Attendants, fire rescue personnel and the BC Ambulance Service. We currently provide medical direction to over 300 clients including 140 fire departments throughout the province.

Medical Director Update – BC Ambulance AEDs reconfiguration

BC Ambulance AEDs

A recent memo was circulated by the Director of First Responder Services Randy Shaw regarding the reconfiguration of the BC Ambulance AEDs. In part this memo outlines the following. The BCAS AEDs are being reset to eliminate the “charge‐up whine” when a shockable rhythm is detected and instead prompt the responders to resume CPR – See appendix 1 for the complete memo.

This AED reconfiguration is being done to encourage crews to continue chest compressions during the charge‐up phase of the AED and is one more step in maximizing time on the chest.

Although I am in agreement in principle with this initiative, it has come to my attention that there may be a considerable cost for some Fire Service AEDs to be reconfigured. This cost depends on the software version installed in the AED. In discussions with BCAS and the Emergency Health Services Commission, the following is recommended based on the model of AED and the software version:

lp500/1000

1. LP 1000s with software version 2.42
Recommend – reconfigure as these units contain the same software as BCAS AEDS (no costs incurred)

2. LP 1000’s with software versions older than version 2.42
Recommend – reconfigure not required ‐ The cost to upgrade ($700.00 per unit) does not justify the benefit

3. LP 500
Recommend – reconfigure not required ‐ The cost to upgrade ($300.00 per unit)does not justify the benefit

For those units where there is a recommendation not to reconfigure, the same benefit (chest compressions during charge‐up) can be obtained by reminding crews that chest compressions should continue throughout the “charge‐up whine”.

Best regards,
Allan Holmes
Medical Director, Iridia Medical

Appendix 1

TO ALL FIRST RESPONDER AGENCIES, SENT ON BEHALF OF RANDY SHAW, DIRECTOR, FIRST RESPONDER SERVICES

This note is to advise you that effective this week BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) AEDs will begin to undergo a minor reconfiguration. The AEDs are being reset to eliminate the “charge‐up whine” when a shockable rhythm is detected and instead prompt the responders to resume CPR.

If a shockable rhythm was detected on analysis, the AED will begin to charge and a 15 second timer will show in the display window. At 12 seconds, the AED will warn the responders that a shock is advised and at 15 seconds, prompt the responders to stand clear and to push the shock button.

There is no change in the procedures for CPR.

As you know, we teach that chest compressions are to resume during the charge‐up phase. This change in AED configuration is purely intended to support the re‐establishment of chest compressions during that phase. Please notify your first responder agencies accordingly both so that they are aware of the BCAS AED change and so that first responder agency medical oversight may consider the change with their own AEDs if similarly configurable.

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.

 

Vancouver Plane Crash – 10/27/2011

First responders such as paramedics, fire rescue and police put their lives on the line everyday when answering emergency calls. Thursday’s plane crash in Vancouver that left many injured was not a typical emergency call for our first responders; or a typical afternoon for those who witnessed the accident.

In case you haven’t heard about the crash or would like to check up-to-date information on the accident, visit the Vanoucver Sun here:
http://www.vancouversun.com/news

Vancouver Plane Crash

Moral obligations of bystanders have been making headlines recently.

http://vancouver.openfile.ca/blog/curator-blog/curated-news/2011/canadian-doctors-bystanders-have-moral-obligation-perform-cpr.

Should strangers rush in to save someone who is in trouble? We would like to think if something terrible happened to us and someone witnessed it, they would come to our aid. But yet, in many cases people are either too stunned or not equipped to deal with an accident. Fortunately yesterday’s plane crash had a silver lining and that lay in the efforts of our first responders and those bystanders who put themselves in harm’s way. As the plane burned up on the road, many people who witnessed the accident rushed to the scene through the smoke and fire to save those who were trapped in the wreckage. Due to their outstanding efforts they were able to retrieve all those who were trapped.

Unfortunately even with the efforts of bystanders and EMS personnel the pilot succumbed to his injuries. Currently the co-pilot is in critical condition, with burns covering up to 80% of his body. We can only hope that he and the others who were injured pull through and recover from this horrific accident.

Had those brave individuals not put their own lives at risk to save others, it is possible many more passengers may have died. This crash highlights the importance of all first responders, whether they are fire rescue, paramedics or police. Those who ran to the burning plane to save those inside now know what it’s like for our first responders who put themselves on the front lines every day.

At Iridia  we have the opportunity to work with fire rescue personnel and paramedics. We understand what they do and why they do it. Accidents like this make us feel grateful that we get the chance to work with those who make it their duty to save lives even if it means putting themselves at risk.

We are very proud to work with those who responded to this accident, as well as all the first responders we work with every day. As a leader in the development of medical education, it is our mission to provide physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals with the most up to date information and skills enabling them to provide their patients with the best possible care.