by Spencer Kemp
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
After being installed in March, the SaveStation located just outside Moosomin Town Hall saw its first use last week.
SaveStations are a uniform holding unit for automated external defibrillators (AED).
Sonya Anderson, a SaveStation distributor through Cardiac Safe Communities, says that the defibrillator located in the Moosomin SaveStation was used, but no shock was administered as EMS arrived on the scene before the AED needed to be utilized.
“I received a call yesterday from the town office that they had an incident and within two months of having the SaveStation in place here it got used. So that was exciting news,” Anderson said.
“Once a SaveStation is placed in a community, the first thing we tell the community to do is to notify 911 that it is there and then what’s supposed to happen, and what is exactly what happened, 911 received an alert that somebody might have needed a defibrillator and the 911 operator told that person that the closest AED to them was the one that was right there in front of the Moosomin Town Office. So the lady ran to the defibrillator and returned home, but at that time the EMS had already arrived. But what’s perfect about this story is exactly what was supposed to happen did happen. The idea is that anytime, day or night, that SaveStation unit is accessible for people so they can respond as they need to.”
Anderson says that SaveStations provide a quick and accessible way to access an AED in the event of an emergency.
“There is a company called Action First Aid and they have been around for over 20 years selling defibrillators and they have one of the largest defibrillators and CPR and First Aid training companies in Canada. One of the things that they noticed is the problem with defibrillators is that they’re usually locked up and unaccessible in the evenings and on the weekends or on holiday events. As we all know, a sudden cardiac arrest doesn’t wait for opening hours. It can happen any time and anywhere and we are really trying to promote the idea that we need access to defibrillators as quickly as possible.
“Best results happen if you do good CPR as well as placing an AED on someone within the first four minutes. For every minute after that, we start to see the possibility of brain damage. So it is very important to get an AED and have access to it quickly.”
A secondary goal to SaveStations is to create a uniform brand that can be recognized regardless of what type of AED is actually available inside.
Anderson says the SaveStations are made to be recognizable and uniform like a fire extinguisher or stop sign.
“In the outdoor defibrillator category, they started realizing that there are so many different kinds out there. Some are red, some are green, some are round, some are square, and what they wanted to do is create a uniform look. In an emergency, people wonder where to go and what to do. So we’re trying to capture the same idea that’s used for things like a stop sign, which is a pretty universal sign that people recognize all around the world, or an H for hospital.
“What they wanted to do was create uniformity around a brand, around AEDs so it would help people be able to spot them from far away and know exactly what is inside it. So that is where the SaveStation part of the story comes into it. January 1, 2016, is when we decided to launch the outdoor defibrillator product line and SaveStation came along shortly after that in September of 2016. That is when we decided we needed this uniformity of a look to it. So that’s how SaveStation was born.”
Currently, there are around 150 SaveStations across North America with roughly 75 in Canada and 75 in the USA.
Each SaveStation is made to withstand cold and hot temperatures, monitor the AED batteries, and take a photo of the individual using the station.
Anderson notes that Moosomin has a top-of-the-line SaveStation that was sponsored through CP Rail, something Anderson says she has been trying to get other communities to apply for.
“The nice thing about the Moosomin one is that it was sponsored by CP Rail. And CP Rail has a program that funds cardiac safe initiatives. In particular, they look to provide funding to organizations that want to improve the heart health of people in communities, but specifically by providing access to cardiac emergency equipment,” said Anderson.
“This was a pretty nice fit. When I heard about this program I reached out to them to inquire how it worked and I’ve been reaching out to communities across Canada and seeing if it is something they’re interested in.”
Swift Current and Nipawin also have SaveStations through the sponsorship made available by CP Rail.
Before using an AED, Anderson says the first step should always be to contact 911.
“No matter what, we always recommend calling 911 first and foremost so that emergency help is on the way. Then you want to begin CPR immediately and hopefully, you’ll have someone else nearby you can send for the AED. But if it’s just yourself and you’re there, grab it, pull it out and place the pads on the individual.
“The nice thing about AEDs is that they are so intuitive, especially the one that we’ve selected for Moosomin and all the communities that I’ve been dealing with. I really like that model of AED. It’s very visual with graphics so you know exactly where to put the pads. Then it talks to you, it explains every single step you have to do from cutting off the person’s shirt or clothing so you can expose their skin to place the pads on to beginning CPR and counting you through it and all the way to walking you through the process where the shock is provided. You can do it straight out of the box. You will be walked through it and guided through every single step, but the most important part is always starting with the call to 911,” Anderson said.
To use the Lifepack CR2 Defibrillator, which is the model that is used in the SaveStation in Moosomin, the first step is to call 911.
After calling 911, open the airways of the individual, retrieve the defibrillator, and begin CPR.
Open the defibrillator and follow the voice commands given if the individual does not resuscitate from CPR.
Following the voice commands, collect the pads and place them on the individual, following the pictures in the AED case. Make sure the pads are firmly attached.
Continuing to follow the voice commands, do not touch the individual as the AED delivers a shock.
Once the voice commands indicate it is safe to touch the individual, continue CPR. The machine will continue voice commands and guidance for two minutes of CPR.
After two minutes, the AED will check the heart rate of the individual again. If no shock is advised, the individual will be breathing.
Roll the patient into a recovery position when advised and wait for Emergency Medical Services.
Spencer Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator