Toronto paramedics raise awareness of importance of bystander role in performing emergency CPR

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Paramedics and members of the Toronto Paramedic Services’ Safe City team demonstrated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) to members of the public and City staff members today at Toronto City Hall. The event was part of Toronto Paramedic Services’ 2016 Heart Month activities.

“Toronto Paramedic Services’ Safe City Program places public access defibrillators in more than 1,500 public places such as community centres and skating rinks across the city,” said Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 10 York Centre), Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee. “In 2015, a record number of bystanders stepped in to start CPR or to deliver a life-saving shock to people who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. They saved 16 lives!”

“It’s as easy as one-two-three to help a paramedic save a life,” said Commander Gayle Pollock of Toronto Paramedic Services’ Safe City Program. “We hope this kind of quick demonstration and practice session will show people how easy it is to help a paramedic save a life, and that it will encourage people to want to learn more by taking a training course. A trained bystander will have the confidence to start CPR before paramedics arrive.”

Toronto Paramedic Services’ Safe City Program started in 1998. It was established to provide instruction to Torontonians because 16 to 20 per cent of the 2,000 cardiac arrests that Toronto paramedics respond to annually happen in a public place. The faster a bystander can start CPR and administer a shock from an AED, the greater a patient’s chances of survival. Records indicate that for each minute that passes without CPR, the chance of surviving cardiac arrest declines by seven to 10 per cent.

The number of bystander resuscitations has increased in recent years, with 16 documented in 2015. Toronto Paramedic Services’ Safe City Program trains more than 13,000 people a year in first aid, CPR and AED/defibrillator use. Members of the public can register for a Safe City course at http://torontoparamedicservices.ca/cpr-first-aid-courses/.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.
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Media contact: Kim McKinnon, Toronto Paramedic Services, 416-392-2255, kmckinn2@toronto.ca