Important to keep AEDs maintained, EHS says
Need to keep devices properly maintained among points being highlighted through AED registry initiative
It can be a life-saving device, but an AED (automated external defibrillator) has to be maintained in order to ensure it will do its job when needed, Argyle municipal council was told last week.
Mike Janczyszyn, co-ordinator of the Emergency Health Services’ AED registry, said maintenance of AEDs is one of the main pillars they’re focusing on with the provincial registry.
“It’s kind of the forgotten piece of having an AED,” he said. “You actually need to maintain it ... The battery expires. The pads expire. They get old. (If) the gel is not sticky enough, it won’t work.”
AED owners who sign up with the registry can get notifications reminding them of maintenance requirements and expiries.
“We really want these things to be maintained,” Janczyszyn said. “(Otherwise) you might as well not have an AED because it’s kind of a false sense of security for everyone involved.”
He was addressing Argyle council during its Oct. 30 committee-ofthe-whole meeting, along with local EHS paramedic Colton LeBlanc, who also stressed the importance of making sure AEDs are maintained.
“It’s like a car,” LeBlanc said. “If you don’t maintain it, things can go wrong.”
An AED is a portable device that analyzes and identifies shockable heart rhythms, advises the rescuer of the need for defibrillation and delivers a shock if needed to restore a normal heart rhythm.
Defibrillation is most successful if done within three to five minutes of a cardiac arrest, EHS says.
“Every minute counts in a cardiac arrest,” LeBlanc told council. “Cardiac arrest can happen to anybody of any gender of any age at any time in any location.”
EHS launched an offline AED registry database in 2011 to track locations and maintenance records of AEDs in the province. EHS is about a year-and-a-half into launching an enhanced registry to enable an online and more automated approach to tracking and notifications for maintenance and expiries.
Speaking to Argyle council, LeBlanc said the latest registry figures show there were about a dozen AEDs registered in Yarmouth County, three in the Municipality of Argyle. Provincewide, the number of devices registered was 651. For the western zone, from the Chester area to the Windsor area, there were 130 registered.
AEDs can be registered as public or private. There is no cost to join the registry but registrants are responsible for purchasing their AED and for the costs of maintaining it. EHS does not sell AEDs. For details on the registry and to register, the website address is www.savelivesns. ca
Goals for the enhanced registry program, EHS says, include
• increasing the number of AEDs in the province
• ensuring the devices are properly maintained and up to date
• raising awareness about the importance of CPR and AEDs
• promoting CPR and AED training
• increasing survival rates for sudden, out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.