To kick off EMS Week 2013, Member of Parliament Ralph Goodale highlighted his Private Members Motion M-446, which calls for the federal government to fix its wildly inconsistent policies on live-saving defibrillators.
35,000 to 40,000 Canadians die of sudden cardiac arrest every year, and defibrillators increase survival rates by up to 30 percent if used in the first few minutes.
“Many departments and agencies in the federal government recognize that defibrillators save lives, yet just as many do not. It is time for the government to update its policy and become a role model by deploying defibrillators in all its buildings,” Goodale said.
“Paramedics have known for years that defibrillators are one of the most cost-effective ways to save lives. Having quick access to them is crucial to beating the odds of surviving cardiac arrest, which worsen by 7 to 10% for every minute of delay in defibrillation,” he added.
Information obtained by Goodale revealed that 36 federal departments and agencies do not have a single defibrillator, including Health Canada and Public Safety Canada. The RCMP does not know how many it has deployed and Public Works and Government Services Canada, which manages federal buildings, has no information on how many it possesses.
“The Paramedic Chiefs of Canada commend the introduction of this measure and Mr. Goodale’s proposal of this motion. We encourage parliamentarian support of introducing this important life-saving measure and encourage that it be taken one step further,” said Darren Sandbeck, President of the Paramedic Chiefs of Canada. “We strongly support the initiative that every public building in the country have an automated external defibrillator with trained staff responders.”
Information on Government of Canada defibrillator use (Order Paper Question Reply) (PDF)