If you’re having a heart attack, having a defibrillator nearby could mean the difference between life and death.
Currently, they’re present in many public buildings – but they aren’t mandatory.
That’s something the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada wants to change, and the group is calling on the provincial government to make the devices mandatory in certain public areas.
The group points to the province of Manitoba, which has a legislated requirement for automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to be present in areas like arenas, schools and airports. It says the model should be emulated here in B.C.
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Currently, defibrillators are available through the PAD program, a partnership between the foundation and BC Emergency Health Services, explained foundation spokesperson Gillian Wong.
But she said funding for that program is set to expire this year, and that the logical next step would be to implement legislation to ensure the life saving devices are always within reach.
“I think that’s really the next step for B.C., is looking at what other provinces are doing, and how we can actually make an even bigger step towards committing to cardiac arrest survival rates.”
In Manitoba, the province funded the acquisition of about 1,000 of the devices for public institutions, and used its size to negotiate discounts on them.
Wong said the foundation had met with the former BC Liberal government, but were unable to spur them to table legislation on the matter.
She said the organization is now meeting with the NDP government in hopes of seeing AEDs made mandatory.
Global News has requested comment from the Ministry of Health.