STM starts installing defibrillators in all Metro stations

·2 min read
Six years after a coroner report's recommendations, Montreal Metros will have defibrillators available to the public.  (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Six years after a coroner report's recommendations, Montreal Metros will have defibrillators available to the public. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Starting today, Montreal's transit corporation is installing 76 defibrillators across all of its Metro stations.

The long-awaited project will cost $306,379, take about five weeks and comes six years after a coroner's report recommended that each Metro station have a first-aid kit and resuscitation equipment.

"In a few weeks, no matter where an incident occurs in a Metro station, a defibrillator will be accessible within five minutes, which can make a huge difference to the chances of survival," said Philippe Schnobb, chairman of the STM board of Directors, in a news release.

Philippe Déry, a spokesperson for the STM, told CBC News that, until now, there have been no defibrillators in Montreal Metro stations.

Currently, an ambulance technician assigned to Berri-UQAM is equipped with an AED (automated external defibrillator) and can respond to emergencies at neighbouring stations. That service will continue to be available after the defibrillators are ready for use.

"Since the STM operates in an urban and denser environment, our customers and employees have always been able to count on first responders (firefighters) and on the pre-hospital emergency care offered by Urgences-santé," said Déry. "The project this winter is going further than the coroner's report by equipping not only stations but also service vehicles and many other work sites."

'Simple to use'

Since 2010, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada has called on all public institutions to provide emergency care equipment, says Salim Grim, manager of the foundation's resuscitation program in Quebec.

For bystanders worried they may cause more harm than good by using an AED, Grim says they shouldn't hesitate to reach for a defibrillator since the device instructs the user.

"When someone is in cardiac arrest, citizens have to understand that the person is almost dead," Grim said. "It's simple to use. If the AED is recommending a shock, it's not the decision of the person. It's the recommendation of the machine. There is no chance to hurt someone. The most important thing is to do something."