New AEDs with donation from provincial program

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, April 5 2016

Gabriola has six new Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) installed, thanks to the BC Public Access to Defibrillation (PAD) Program, and the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department.

Paul Champion, a trustee on the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District Board (Fire Board), worked with Jennifer Lynch of Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty (Gabriola) in bringing the new AEDs to the island.

Introducing the program, Champion said, “The emergency services on Gabriola are very good, and the responders from the Fire Department and BC Ambulance are very committed and quick to respond. 

“However, no matter how nearby they are, precious minutes can be lost while waiting for the responders and their AED to be used.

“With the age of islanders, we’re statistically more likely to have more of these events.”

(L-R) BC Ambulance Gabriola Unit Chief Jacqui Braid; Jude Briscoe (Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty Gabriola) with the AED installed at the Realty office; Dr. Paul Champion; Jennifer Lynch, Branch Manager of Royal LePage Gabriola; and Captain Dimitri Tzotzos of the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department. Derek Kilbourn photo

 The AEDs are provided free of cost through BC PAD which will donate 450 AEDs over a three-year period to public places throughout BC.

Funding for the program comes from the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the BC Ambulance Service through the BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS).

In order for the AEDs to be installed in a community, a local partner organization is asked to take on the maintenance responsibility of the AEDs. The Fire Board and Fire Department stepped up this past fall to be that local organization.

Each site donates $100 per year to offset the costs of ensuring the units are functioning properly, and a second $100 per year that is kept in a specific account by the Fire Board is used to replace batteries every four to five years.

The new sites for the BC PAD AEDs will be the Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty office in Folklife Village; the Gabriola Golf Club; Pages Marina; Silva Bay Marina; the Surf Lodge; and the Skol Pub.

There were already AEDs purchased by Gabriola organizations and businesses at the Rollo Seniors’ Centre; the Gabriola Island Community Hall (donated by Gabriola Island Kyokushin Karate Club); the Gabriola Fitness Centre; and at The Haven.

Jacqui Braid, Unit Chief for the BC Ambulance station on Gabriola, explained that once AEDs are installed, the locations are provided to the 911 dispatch centres - so if someone calls 911 to report a heart attack, dispatch will be able to tell them if an AED is nearby.

In addition, BC EHS has an online AED registry (available at www.bcpadprogram.ca) which has almost 700 AEDs registered throughout BC.

The five new BC PAD AEDs as well as the Haven’s are already on the registry.

A familiarization day for the AEDs is being planned by the Fire Department. There are also familiarization sessions given by Ralph Hagen and held at the Rollo Seniors’ Centre.