In the town of Kirkland, on the West Island, you don’t have to look very far for a life-saving automated external defibrillator, or AED.
There are defibrillators in every municipal building, sometimes two, and every town worker has CPR training.
“It’s essential, it’s a moral responsibility of every municipality to have a safety feature, in case– you never know what can happen,” said Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson.
On Wednesday, Global News spoke with the Dawes family, who donated an outdoor AED to their local park in Saint-Lazare, after their 15-year-old son almost died of a sudden cardiac arrest three years ago.
They hope their donation inspires municipalities and private organizations to install an defibrillator, if they don’t already have one.
But Heart & Stroke Canada says it would like the province to step in and mandate the installation of AEDs.
They want to see the government implement legislation similar to what Ontario has recently adopted or even Manitoba.
“(Manitoba) legislated and mandated that all public buildings had to have an AED in place, and they have a registry as well,” said Shelley Parker, director of resuscitation at Heart & Stroke.
In Quebec, the Jacques de Champlain foundation created an AED registry in 2015.
On it, you can find the defibrillator nearest to your location. You can also register one if it doesn’t yet appear on the list.
But registration is voluntary and the foundation feels like it should be mandatory.
“We’re happy to work with the government to develop a better platform for the registry to make it more simple for people to register,” said Dr. François de Champlain, emergency physician and president of the Jacques de Champlain foundation.
In a statement to Global News, the health and social services ministry said in June it had implemented a defibrillator deployment strategy.
“Health minister Christian Dube announced 1,000 AEDs would be installed across the province, in ATM machines at two financial institutions. The Ministry is working with the Jacques de Champlain Foundation and invites all organizations to register their device. Finally, Dube acknowledged that it was essential to pass specific legislation on public access to defibrillators throughout the province.”
But both Champlain and Heart & Stroke say time is literally of the essence – the government needs to act sooner rather than later.