Proudly Supporting CPR Awareness Month

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A Staggering Statistic

You’re walking home from a night out with friends. At a bus stop, the person in front of you simply falls to the ground, no breathing, no pulse. Would you know what to do? More importantly, would you know how to do it?

In Canada, nearly 20,000 people go into cardiac arrest outside of hospital every single year and less than 10 percent of those survive. Why? Because 75 percent of those people do not receive immediate CPR, even though bystanders are watching it happen. This is because too many people are afraid of “doing it wrong” and harming the person.

The majority of Canadians say they would recognize the signs if someone were experiencing a cardiac emergency, but fewer than half say they have the skills to help. The truth is you can’t hurt someone who is in cardiac arrest, and not doing anything will likely lead to a tragic outcome.


Make a Difference

If you had been trained in how to administer CPR, you would have been able to help that person at the bus stop get the immediate, life-saving assistance they needed until professional help could arrive. The more people who get CPR training, the more confident bystanders will be in effectively administering CPR. Used in conjunction with an AED, this can double a person’s chance of survival.

November is CPR Month and the Iridia team urges everyone to become certified in CPR or re-certify if their certification has lapsed (see why you should re-certify now). 

Start Your Training Today

CPR training is at the core of Iridia’s mission to prepare people to respond to emergencies with the very best versions of themselves. We offer training to organizations who wish to prepare their team members to respond effectively to a cardiac emergency. It is our hope that widespread training will lead to more effective bystander CPR, and more saved lives.

Our programs can be delivered in our classroom, or at the client’s location. We will work with any existing emergency preparedness or medical emergency response plans already in place.

Iridia offers two training options – initial CPR training (CAM-I) and a re-certification course (CAM-R). Our courses are hands-on, interactive, and are delivered in a low stress environment by experienced, well-respected instructors.

Are you a leader in your organization interested in equipping your team with life-saving skills? We can help.

In recognition of CPR Month and our goal of training as many people as possible in effective CPR, we are offering a discount of 10% on Cardiac Arrest Management (CAM) courses booked during the month of November.

Learn more about our Course Offerings


Print Your Own CPR Poster On Us!CPR Poster


CPR Feedback, a Key to Success

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a difficult skill to perfect, but with training, teamwork and feedback, first responders can sustain high-quality CPR for extended periods of time. Real-time feedback is especially important in guiding first responders’ movements and timing over long sessions of CPR – often leading to the best outcomes. Currently, there are a handful of devices on the market that can monitor CPR feedback in real-time, such as the Ambu Smartman.

Today we are going to show you what excellent CPR feedback looks like using real feedback obtained through an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) download with a Zoll Pad.

A few notes:

  • CPR was performed for 14:58 minutes
    • During this time, the patient went without CPR for 46 seconds, attributed to rhythm interpretation
    • Every two minutes, someone new performed CPR
    • Time until first compression was 12 seconds

Compression Depth

Guidelines state that a compression depth of at least 5 cm or 2 inches is optimal. Below we can see this “optimal zone” represented by the green bar. In this case, the average depth was 2.43 inches with 94.47 percent accuracy.

cpr feedback

Click for larger image

Compression Rate

Guidelines state that a compression rate of at least 100/min is optimal. Again, the optimal rate is represented by the green bar. This feedback shows an average rate of 109 compressions per minute with 94.77 percent accuracy.

cpr feedback

Click for larger image

Minute by Minute Breakdown

cpr feedback

It’s really amazing that multiple individuals (swapping every two minutes) were able to perform CPR with such precision. This feedback shows us that although accurate CPR can be difficult to achieve, with real-time feedback, first responders have the tools needed for the best possible outcomes – and yes, the case above had a positive outcome.

Get your CPR certificate


Make Way, Here’s the Future of CPR

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) has always demanded the utmost skill and accuracy from first responders. Unfortunately, without intensive training and re-certification, CPR skills can deteriorate over time – even in as little as six months (learn more about CPR Retention).

For this reason, Iridia Medical has partnered with Physio-Control to help distribute their innovative TrueCPR coaching device to Canadian first responders.



In simple terms, TrueCPR is a portable device that measures CPR quality on the fly. TrueCPR is able to take the guesswork out of CPR by providing real-time feedback to healthcare professionals – leading to better outcomes.  

From Physio-Control:

“The best outcomes demand the best CPR. Simple enough to say, but in the heat of a cardiac resuscitation, accurately assessing CPR performance—even knowing your true chest compression depth, rate and recoil—can be anything but easy. And in your world, the constant drive for performance improvement makes the challenge of measuring CPR quality more critical than ever.”

TrueCPR differs from other devices in two important areas: TrueCPR works in conjunction with any brand defibrillator and it measures sternal-spinal displacement using three-dimensional magnetic fields.

During an Event

Once the device has been placed on the chest, it immediately begins to analyze, measure and benchmark the quality of CPR delivered – establishing a feedback loop for response teams.


During chest compressions TrueCPR shows you exactly what you are doing right and where you need improvement. Compression depth, rate and recoil are displayed in real time on a highly visible dial on the patient’s chest. In addition, a CPR metronome and ventilation prompts guide responders to provide CPR per recommended rates.

After an Event

After CPR has been performed, statistics such as average rate, percentage of compressions at the correct depth and recoil, hands-on time and total event time are displayed and provide a snapshot of event performance.


Up to 180 minutes of CPR information can be assessed, which will allow reviewers to evaluate overall performance and establish feedback loop for continuous CPR improvement.

Iridia believes TrueCPR will give healthcare professionals the tool they need to deliver the best possible CPR and the continued feedback necessary to retain their CPR skills.

We are very interested in TrueCPR feedback from healthcare professionals such as fire rescue personnel, physicians, paramedics, nurses, life-guards and other first responders. If you would like to test this device out for yourself, we invite you to stop by our office in Vancouver. For more information, please contact us.


Iridia Founder Dr. Allan Holmes giving TrueCPR a test drive.

Learn more about TrueCPR


November is CPR Month 2012

CPR Month 2012

There is more to managing a cardiac arrest than “pushing the button” on an AED. If you witnessed a family member in cardiac arrest, would you know what to do? Nearly 20,000 people go into cardiac arrest outside of hospital every single year in Canada. Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of those individuals survive. One of the leading causes is that 75 percent of those people do not receive immediate CPR, mainly due to a fear of “doing it wrong.” The truth is, you can’t hurt someone who is in cardiac arrest, they are already dead. [youtube=] The majority of Canadians say they would recognize the signs if someone were experiencing a cardiac emergency, but fewer than half say they have the skills to help. Now is the time to make a difference. November is CPR Month the team here at Iridia urges everyone to either become certified or re-certify (see why you should re-certify now). Widespread training will lead to effective bystander CPR, which, used in conjunction with an AED and administered immediately following cardiac arrest, can double a person’s chance of survival. CPR Month 2012 At Iridia, we offer two training options, Initial Training and a Re-certification. Our four hour Initial Training workshop provides certification in AED use as well as CPR Level ‘C’(adult, child and infant; one and two-rescuer). This training session is taught on site with substantial time spent on practical drills utilizing the in-house Medical Emergency Response Plan. Pre and post cardiac arrest procedures are also included. Our shorter AED Provider re-training program is two hours in length and reviews lessons from the initial training program. We can also work with an organization to develop an “In-House Program” where one or more of your own employees receives training to become an AED instructor.   Learn more about our medical education course offerings.

First Aid Training Dangerously Low

A new poll conducted for the Red Cross reveals that Canadians are unprepared to perform first aid in a medical emergency.

First Aid Training

First Aid Training – The Good News

The majority of Canadians feel will recognize the signs of a life-threatening health emergency such as Choking, Heart Attack or Cardiac Emergency, Heat Emergency, Anaphylactic Shock and Concussion.

First Aid Training – The Bad News

While nearly 98 percent of Canadians say knowing how to perform first aid is important, 82 percent did not take a first aid course within the last three years.

First aid training

It is not enough to recognize the signs of a medical emergency; we need to be able to act.

Currently, only a small portion (18 percent) of Canadians have their first aid training certification and many believe they do not possess the skills needed to save lives when an emergency happens.

 “Although 68 percent of Canadians say they can recognize the signs of a life-threatening health emergency, like choking or cardiac arrest, less than half believe they have the skills to provide life-saving basic first aid,” summarizes Don Marentette, national manager of first aid programs with the Canadian Red Cross.

“The Red Cross believes lapsed training and Canadians’ low confidence in their ability to save a life are directly related, and pose a risk in emergencies.”

Nearly 40 percent of Canadians reported they have had to perform first aid in an emergency situation. In 22 percent of these cases, first aid was performed on a family member.

First Aid Training

Even though Canadians are more likely to use first aid skills to save the life of a loved one than anyone else, there is a significant gap between Canadians’ perception of the importance of taking a first aid course, and actually taking one.

For more information, please see the Red Cross Polling Information

With the high likelihood that we will all have to perform CPR on a loved one at some point during our lives, we should all be taking the necessary steps to be prepared.

As a leader in the development of medical education workshops, Iridia is committed to the training of Canadians in CPR and AED use.

If you would like first aid training, please see Iridia’s current offerings:

Course Offerings

Bystander CPR – Moral Obligation?

Bystander CPR

Nearly 20,000 people go into cardiac arrest outside of hospital every single year in Canada. Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of those individuals survive.

One of the leading causes is that 75 percent of those people do not receive bystander CPR.

In many of these cases the cardiac arrest is witnessed, but the bystanders do not have any training in CPR. Bystanders in this situation often fail to offer assistance because of the belief they do not have the necessary skills to act, and potentially they may cause more harm than good.

Recently, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) has spoken out to say “every Canadian should be willing to offer CPR when they witness someone in cardiac arrest — even if they’ve never been trained in it.”

bystander cpr


It is clear that any sort of assistance provided can increase the chances of survival for those who experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

The CAEP clearly wants to push the expectations of CPR further. “It must become a moral obligation and a social expectation that bystanders will perform CPR when they witness a cardiac arrest.

Many more lives can be saved, but we need stronger inducements and a systematic approach to ensure more people in the community are prepared and ready to perform CPR,” says the group.

The CAEP is looking for the next step to be mandatory CPR training in all Canadian high schools. They even go as far to say that it should be a requirement of graduation.

Although CPR is not a guarantee for survival, it is believed that up to 2000 people a year could be saved if all Canadians were taught how to properly give CPR.

For those who haven’t had formal training, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada has updated its guidelines in 2010 to simplify CPR training in the hopes that more bystanders will be willing to give CPR.

It is now recommended that untrained bystanders who don’t want to give mouth-tomouth resuscitation can simply offer chest compressions to adults in cardiac arrest.

If you are interested in learning CPR or would like to update your certification, contact us.

See our 2014 course offerings.


AED Shopping Tips

When buying an automated external defibrillator (AED), choosing a model can be a daunting task. When evaluating a defibrillator, you don’t need an exhaustive background in electronics or cardiac medicine, but with a growing number of manufacturers and a plethora of models and features, how can you know which type of AED will suit your needs?

Keep in mind that all defibrillators do one fundamental thing: they deliver an electric shock that resets the heart’s natural pacemaker and converts an irregular, unstable heart rhythm to a sustainable one. To accomplish this, all AED’s possess three basic elements: a battery that provides energy for the cardiac shock; a main unit that analyzes heart rhythms and generates the electrical charge; and the electrodes, or pads, that deliver the shock to the patient.

These similarities lead some to believe that all AED’s are the same, but there are differences. The features that distinguish defibrillators are component quality, user interface, and innovations in technology.

AED Shopping Tips


Getting to know a few simple details will quickly determine the overall quality of an AED:

  • Better quality AEDs use medical-grade, lithium-ion batteries and do not rely on any secondary source of power to run self-checks or power the unit.
  • Many units use a diagram to show the proper placement for electrodes and the polarity (positive or negative) of each.  The best public-use AED’s simplify this process and use non-polarized electrodes that can be placed interchangeably.
  • Most Health-Canada approved AEDs have been drop tested to just over a meter and are designed to survive rough treatment.

A product specification associated with durability of any electronic equipment is the IPX rating.  The IP Code is an International (or Ingress) Protection Rating and is expressed as IP followed by a two-digit number. The first digit indicates the level of protection against particles such as dust or dirt; the second gives the level of protection from water. The higher the number, the greater the resistance. Every AED has an IP Code which can usually be found in the user’s manual.


The most visible features that differentiate AED’s are those that indicated ease of use and quality of performance.  As public access defibrillation programs become more commonplace, simplicity in design and use become paramount.  There are a few factors to consider when purchasing an AED:

  • How many buttons (if any) do I have to push for a shock?
  • Are there voice prompts and a display to guide me during a rescue?
  • Will the unit’s prompts assist me with delivering CPR to the victim?

Many units run daily, weekly and monthly self checks.  It is important to purchase a unit that checks issues such as the presence of electrodes, pad connectivity, battery life and wire conductivity as they increase the potential life of your unit.

Time spent remembering or figuring out how an AED works and how to apply the pads can make the difference between a save and a non-save when using a defibrillator.  Features that limit this time are invaluable.


The most important component of an AED’s design is the technology used to deliver a shock.

There are two methods of shock delivery:  fixed energy and escalating energy. With fixed energy, a shock is delivered once at a given level measured in joules (J), and then subsequently redelivered until there is a correction in the heart’s rhythm. With escalating energy, if the first shock is unsuccessful, the AED progressively increases the energy of subsequent shocks until reaching the maximum allowable number of joules and redelivers shocks at that level.

When purchasing an AED, it is important to find a unit that is not only capable of escalating the shock energy, but of doing so beyond 200J. While an initial shock of 200J is usually successful in an out-of-hospital environment, there are exceptions and escalation above 200J is necessary to maintain success for multi-shock patients. In cases of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), refibrillation is not just common, it is expected… as long as the AED is up to the task.


There are some costs associated with buying and setting up an AED. Making an informed purchase decision ensures that the hard-earned money you to spend will give a potential SCA victim the very best chance of survival.