For one man, a trip to a local mall turned into a cardiac emergency. Without warning, he was struck by sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) – a life-threatening condition that affects up to 40,000 Canadians each year. Without rapid treatment, particularly a shock delivered by an automated external defibrillator (AED), most cardiac arrests result in death.
This man was fortunate to have had his SCA event in the right place and at the right time. Mall security immediately started CPR and knew that using an AED was the critical next step. Fortunately, a London Drugs store was nearby. They had an easily accessible AED located in their pharmacy and, most importantly, staff trained to use it. Thanks to the actions of mall security and London Drugs staff, this man beat the odds and survived his cardiac arrest.
Having ready access to an AED is key, as every 1 minute delay in defibrillation will reduce survival rates by 7% to 10%. The fact that London Drugs had an AED immediately available significantly contributed to this man’s survival – London Drugs clearly demonstrates the importance of public access defibrillation (PAD) programs.
London Drugs is a pioneer in Canada when it comes to implementing a workplace AED program. London Drugs was the first major retailer in Canada to put AEDs into all of their stores and they have trained over 1,000 employees in CPR and the use of an AED. The program was developed in partnership with Iridia Medical who is an industry leader in PAD program development and implementation. Each London Drugs store has an AED located in the pharmacy and the front door of every store has a window sticker indicating that the location is equipped with an AED.
London Drugs’ AED program actively promotes their “good neighbour” policy in recognition that none of the surrounding retail outlets has an AED present. If an AED is needed, London Drugs and their staff are there to help. To date, the AEDs have been used 7 times since the program launched in 2009. In 4 cases, the incidents occurred at surrounding businesses that did not have an AED and London Drug staff responded with their AED. These businesses now further appreciate the importance of quickly using an AED during an SCA to raise survival rates.
Canada is making strides when it comes to widespread public access to AEDs. In 2013, the Heart and Stroke Foundation launched a formal PAD Program in British Columbia. This important initiative will see about 650 AEDs placed in public locations over three years. Additionally, in 2014, the government of Canada in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation launched a national campaign. This ground-breaking program will see over 2,000 AEDs installed in arenas and recreational facilities across Canada.
London Drugs’ AED partner, Iridia Medical, is involved in both of the provincial and federal programs which will help raise the awareness of AEDs and hopefully raise out-of-hospital survival rates.
London Drugs is a glowing example of a workplace AED Program as well as a public access AED program for the community. In our next blog, we will take a look at what the future holds for public access to AEDs. In the meantime, please help us by spreading the word about the importance of AEDs – learn more.