Safety Minute: Defibrillators could save your life


Best estimates suggest 35,000-40,000 Canadians suffer Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) yearly. When our hearts electrical system malfunctions the pumping action of the heart can stop immediately leading to collapse, unresponsiveness to touch or sound and absent or abnormal breathing.1,2 The required treatment is providing basic CPR until restoration of the hearts normal rhythm can be established with automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Basic CPR is easy to learn in less than 90 seconds.3 Yes, anyone can save a life so don’t be afraid to step up and help. Survival from SCA can increase from a meagre 5-10% rate to 50% with rapid defibrillation.2 Because 80% of SCA occurs in the home or public places and SCA increases with age the Ballantrae retirement community is higher risk.1,2,5

Residents who play tennis or boche should be aware of the AED in existence inside the tennis hut. Unfortunately, the hut may be locked when courts are not in use because of expensive equipment stored inside. At the front of the recreation centre inside both sets of double doors is another AED. Should you witness a SCA in the front parking lot, and don’t have your FOB, or no one is in the office, you cannot access the device. Hopefully the AED will be moved between both sets of doors as this could greatly enhance chances of timely defibrillation and survival. So in summary if you witness someone collapsing and they are unresponsive to touch or sound, and have irregular or no breathing: Call 9-1-1; begin CPR and ask someone to get the defibrillator immediately. AEDs have simple instructions on their use and save lives!

  1. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC). Cardiac Arrest. 2020. Available at HSFC. Accessed 9 Nov 2022.
  2. Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). 2022. Available at ca. Accessed 9 Nov 2022.
  3. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC). Cardiac Arrest. 2020. YouTube, Learn CPR in less than 90 seconds. Available at HSFC. Accessed 9 Nov 2022.
  4. Yow A G et al. Sudden Cardiac Death. StatPearls. 8 Aug 2022. Available at NCBI Bookshelf ( Accessed 9 Nov 2022.
  5. Newman M M. American Heart Association Heart and Stroke Statistics – 2022 Update. Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. Available at Accessed 9 Nov 2022.