The province of Manitoba, Canada made public safety a priority by passing the new Defibrillator Public Access Act in December 2012. This act mandates that all high-traffic public facilities in the province have an AED (automated external defibrillator) on-site, in addition to clear signage identifying their locations. The government has given facilities until January 31, 2014 to acquire AEDs, install them, and register them with local emergency services so that 911 operators can direct callers to their locations.
In order to aid this initiative, Manitoba’s government has partnered with the local Heart and Stroke Foundation office. The government has paid over 1.3 million dollars to the Heart and Stroke Foundation in order to place 1,000 AEDs in places like nonprofits and schools that might have problems finding the funding necessary to purchase the new AEDs.
Manitoba health minister Theresa Oswald clearly understands the risks of sudden cardiac arrest and the consequences when an AED isn’t nearby. She made this comment while presenting the first AED funded by the Manitoba government to Glenlawn Collegiate: “You never know when or where cardiac arrest will happen. To ensure, during that critical time of need, a life-saving defibrillator will be close at hand, our government is adding 1,000 free defibrillators to public facilities all across the province. We know the chance of survival is increased by almost 75 per cent when a heart defibrillator is used with cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It can really mean the difference between life and death.”
Manitoba’s new AEDs will help ensure that citizens are only a few seconds from the lifesaving devices if they are ever unfortunate enough to experience cardiac arrest. Manitoba’s funding toward the project proves to us all that Manitoba is dedicated to keeping its citizens safe.