In the past year, the number of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) on Bowen Island has exploded, and with that, the chances that someone who’s heart has stopped will have a second chance at life have also increased dramatically. The Municipality’s Emergency Planning Co-Ordinator, Amanda Ockeloen, says there are now at least fifteen AED’s on-island, and she’s hoping that the owners of these lifesaving devices will register them with the BC Emergency Health Service’s (BCEHS) provincial database for AEDs.
“I had been planning to create some kind of map, showing where all the AED’s are on the island,” says Ockeloen. “But I couldn’t figure out where the map should go, in order to be most accessible to people who find themselves in an emergency situation. This database really makes a lot of sense, and will work better than a map.”
The BC AED registry will be integrated into the Computer Aided Dispatch system used by dispatchers to direct emergency services throughout the provinces. The dispatchers can advise callers of the closest AED, and provide instructions on how to use it until paramedics arrive.
On Bowen, one life has already been saved because of an AED. In August, the RCMP responded to a call about a man in full cardiac arrest on the Government Dock. A doctor and nurse were performing CPR on the man, and Constable Brian Mulrooney brought an AED within three minutes of recieving the call. The man survived and was airlifted to Vancouver General Hospital. In these situations, the use of an AED is said to greatly increase the chances of survival over Cardiopulmonary recusitation (CPR) alone.
Ockeloen says that while she is very pleased to see that the life-saving devices are much more accessible on Bowen than they were a year ago, she would still like to see them available on some parts of the island including Tunstall Bay, Bluewater, and Hood Point. She also says that more people need to get trained on using AEDs, and this requires just four hours at a CPR/AED First Aid course.
To register your AED, please go here.