AED Donation Program
Beginning in 2007, GMS donated $300,000 for the purchase and installation of 83 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for schools across Saskatchewan, its largest donation program to date. This ground-breaking initiative was the first of this magnitude completed in Canada to date.
Automated External Defibrillators are small, portable devices that increase the chance of survival from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and Commotio Cordis, a sudden disturbance of heart rhythm caused as the result of a blunt, non-penetrating impact to the chest, by 74%. Every minute that passes before defibrillation reduces the rate of survival by 7 to 10%. Time to defibrillation, the most critical factor in the survival from an SCA, can be reduced if an AED is "on-site" and can be brought to the victim quickly. Statistically, communities with active Public Access Defibrillation programs experience much higher SCA survival rates.
AEDs are specially designed for easy use by a "first responder". Defibrillators are simple to operate and guide users through a series of voice and/or visual prompts. These devices analyze the heart's rhythm and prompt the user to deliver a defibrillation shock if it determines one is needed. The machines cannot do damage and will not shock a normally beating heart.
In recent years, there have been a growing number of at-school deaths in otherwise healthy children after experiencing sudden cardiac arrest as a result of an undiagnosed heart problem or a sudden disturbance of heart rhythm caused as the result of a blunt, non-penetrating impact to the chest. High school students are a high risk group for sudden cardiac episodes, especially when involved in high stress physical activity.
After careful consideration, schools were deemed the preferred location to place the AEDs.
In many Saskatchewan towns, schools are often a hub of social and cultural activities enjoyed by the entire community. Schools also provide a perfect environment for teacher and student AED training and the development and delivery of heart health educational programs. Training and educating youth on how to recognize the signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and assist in areas where AEDs are available will ultimately contribute to an overall increase in survival rates from cardiac episodes in communities across Saskatchewan.