30 subway stations get heart defibrillators

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (HSFO), together with Toronto EMS and the TTC, is making cardiac safety the next stop for 1.6 million daily TTC commuters. The Foundation this week announced the installation of 30 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in TTC subway stations.

The AEDs are part of a $3 million province-wide grant from the Ministry of Health Promotion. Funding was also provided by Transamerica Life Canada as part of their $650,000 commitment to the Heart & Stroke Chase McEachern Tribute Fund and Restart A Heart – Restart A Life Public Access Defibrillator program in Ontario.

“The wellness of our riders is one of our top priorities,” says TTC Vice-Chair and Toronto Councillor, Joe Mihevc. “The TTC is excited to be working with our colleagues at Toronto EMS to install defibrillators at 30 of our busiest stations across the subway system.”

Preparing to save the lives of those who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest has always been a priority for the Foundation. As a result, the HSFO is directing funds to expand the number of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in high priority public places in the Greater Toronto Area under the Cardiac Safe City Program run by Toronto EMS.

“The odds of survival following cardiac arrest are almost four times greater if someone performs CPR immediately, and when combined with early defibrillation, AEDs can increase survival rates to 50 per cent or more if delivered in the first few minutes,” said Bill Thomas, Interim CEO, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. “We are very pleased with the potential of today’s announcement to save lives.”

“The McGuinty government’s partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation provides increased public access for life-saving equipment in local communities,” said Health Promotion Minister, Margarett Best. “The installation of AEDs in so many high-traffic TTC stations will provide easy access to life saving treatment for Toronto’s commuters.”

“We are pleased to be a part of this initiative with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario,” said Douglas Brooks, President and CEO of Transamerica Life Canada. “AEDs and the appropriate CPR training have the potential to make a huge impact on the lives of Canadians and we are really excited to assist in bringing them to high traffic subway stations across Toronto.”

“In cases of cardiac arrest, the early use of CPR and AEDs can make the difference between life and death,” said Toronto EMS Chief Bruce Farr. “We need community members to perform these life-saving skills before our paramedics arrive, to ensure the best possible chance of survival.”

The stations scheduled to receive an AED with associated training are: Bathurst; Eglinton; Sheppard-Yonge; Bay; Finch; Spadina; Bloor-Yonge; Islington; St. Andrew; Broadview; Kennedy; St. Clair; College; King; St. Clair West; Don Mills; Kipling; St. George; Downsview; Pape; Union Station; Dufferin; Queen; Victoria Park; Dundas; Queen’s Park; Warden; Dundas West    ; Scarborough Centre and York Mills.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 40,000 Canadians experience cardiac arrest each year, the majority of which occur either at home or in public places. In Ontario alone, approximately 7,000 cardiac arrests occur each year. The odds of survival for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are approximately five per cent. With each passing minute, the probability of survival declines by seven to 10 per cent.

For more information, please call 416-467-9954, 416-393-3741, or 416-392-2255.

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