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N.S. father who lost son urges 911 callers be directed to locations of life-saving device

Click to play video: 'Campaign underway to raise awareness of automated external defibrillators'
Campaign underway to raise awareness of automated external defibrillators
WATCH: There's a sign campaign underway in the Halifax area informing people that 911 won't direct you to the nearest location of an AED. Alexa MacLean has more – May 30, 2018

A beautiful September day in 2014 quickly turned into the worst day of David Fowlie’s life, when he learned that his 28-year-old son Michael had gone into cardiac arrest while cycling on Purcell’s Cove Road.

“There was no previous history with Michael,” said Fowlie. “Even going back a couple of generations, there’s nothing that indicates that there are concerns with cardiac arrest.”

Michael was the only child of David and his wife.

Less than 700 metres away from where Michael collapsed was an automated external defibrillator [AED] that could have saved his life. But the 911 caller had no idea the AED was accessible, or where it was located.
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“The caller was not directed to go and get the AED. As well, the caller was not directed by medical communications to begin chest compressions,” Fowlie said.

WATCH: Heart attack survivors urge CPR and AED education

There’s a sign campaign underway in the region informing people that 911 won’t direct you to the nearest location of an AED.

There is a provincial AED registry that currently has 540 AEDs registered, according to Emergency Health Services [EHS], but the organization believes there are at least 1,000 throughout the province.

According to EHS, dispatch isn’t able to tell callers the location of the nearest AED.

The organization says there are plans to eventually change that and encourages AED owners to register their device on their online registry to help build the network. 

“Full integration including telling callers the location of the nearest AED, will be possible when the next phase of the EHS AED registry is launched. Although we don’t have an exact timeline, we hope this to be available in the coming months,” says Jeff Fraser, director of provincial operations.

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The response from EHS was attributed to Fraser in an email statement. The organization declined an on-camera interview.

Meanwhile, Fowlie is left waiting for the system to change.

“Through either, you going to get it yourself being the 911 caller or sending a bystander to retrieve that AED.”

 

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