April 1, 2004

York Region launches Heart Alive, a public access defibrillation program

NEWMARKET –York Region Chief Administrative Officer Michael Garrett and York Region Health Services Commissioner and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Helena Jaczek joined York Regional Police Chief Armand La Barge and General Manager of Emergency Medical Services Brad Meekin at the Regional Municipality of York's launch of its Heart Alive Program today in Newmarket.  Heart Alive is a public access defibrillation program aimed at increasing survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest.  It also includes heart health promotion.
"Increasing survival rates from a possible sudden cardiac arrest in our work place is important for staff," said Michael Garrett. "It is also important for members of the public who may be visiting one of our Regional sites."
"In Canada, as many as 40,000 people die each year from sudden cardiac arrest," added Dr. Helena Jaczek. "This translates into approximately 1,000 deaths per year in York Region."
Most sudden cardiac arrests are caused by ventricular fibrillation, which can only be stopped by defibrillation. Defibrillation is a process in which an electronic device gives an electric shock to the heart. This helps re-establish normal contraction rhythms in a person experiencing a cardiac arrest or dangerous, irregular heart beats. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a small, portable device that can, when connected to a person suffering a cardiac arrest, analyze the person's heart rhythm, determine whether a shock should be administered and, if appropriate, administer the shock through electrodes which have been attached to the person's chest.
With each passing minute from the time of a cardiac arrest, the likelihood of survival declines by up to 10%. The possibility of survival is very limited if defibrillation does not occur within 10 minutes of the arrest. Combined with CPR, the quick and effective use of an AED on a victim suffering a cardiac arrest can make the difference between life and death.
To date 43 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) have been installed in 20 Regional Municipality of York sites across the Region, with eight more to be hooked up at an additional eight sites in the next few months.  In addition, 230 York Region staff have been trained as Heart Alive Targeted Responders, ready to respond to medical emergencies in their workplace, as well as in the community at large.  They received training by EMS paramedic instructors in First Aid, CPR and on how to use an AED.
Through a partnership with York Regional Police (YRP), Targeted Responders are alerted to the emergency through an overhead page, following a call to 9-1-1 received by the Emergency Communications Centre at YRP headquarters.
"York Regional Police is pleased to be part of the Heart Alive Program," said Chief La Barge.  "Our highly-trained 9-1-1 call takers are well prepared to assist in an emergency and this program could save the life of a York Region staff member or visitor."    
AEDs are located in well-marked clear glass cabinets, and can be used by almost everyone -- not just by those who have been specially trained to help.
"Anyone can use an AED, with or without special training," said Brad Meekin.  "The machine is safe and easy to use and, in fact, guides users step by step."
The attached Fact Sheet lists the Regional sites with Automated External Defibrillators.
Contact:   Wendy Lewis, Corporate Communications Services, York Region
- (905) 830-4444 or (416) 297-9696, ext. 1238
- Email: wendy.lewis@region.york.on.ca

          Fact Sheet

April 1, 2004 
York Region launches Heart Alive,
a public access defibrillation program
As part of the York Region's Heart Alive Program, to date the following 20 Regional Municipality of York sites are equipped with Automated External Defibrillators (AED) and staffed with Targeted Responders trained in First Aid, CPR and how to use an AED.  Eight more will be added to an additional eight Regional sites in the next few months.
• York Region Community Services and Housing offices, 24262 Woodbine Avenue
• York Region Transportation and Works Patrol Yard, 3525 Baseline Road
• York Region Health Services, 4261 Hwy #7 East
• York Region Early Intervention Services, 144 Main Street
• York Region Administrative Centre, 17250 Yonge Street
• York Region Community Services and Housing offices, Tannery Mall, 465 Davis Drive
• York Health Services offices, Tannery Mall, 465 Davis Drive
• Provincial Court offices, Tannery Mall, 465 Davis Drive
• York Region Health Services, 22 Prospect Street
• York Region Community Services and Housing offices, 62 Bayview Parkway
• York Region Emergency Medical Services Station, 520 Cane Parkway
• Newmarket Health Centre, 194 Eagle Street
• York Region Early Intervention Services, 55 Eagle Street
Richmond Hill:
• York Region South Services Centre, 50 High Tech Road
• York Region Transportation and Works Yard, 1700 Major Mackenzie Drive
• York Region Community Services and Housing offices, 3901 Hwy #7 West, Ste.501
• York Region Early Intervention Services, 3901 Hwy #7 West, Ste. 202
• Maple Health Centre, 10424 Keele Street
• York Region Transportation and Works Road Yard, 2850 Rutherford Road
• York Region Transportation and Works Operation Facility, 16042 Woodbine Avenue

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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