Did You Know?
Cardiac arrests can be catastrophic, striking suddenly and without warning. Basically, an electrical malfunction causes the heart to stop pumping blood. The victim then loses consciousness and will die within minutes if not given immediate assistance.
Be prepared. A portable defibrillator (AED) and proper first aid training are absolute life savers!
A cardiac arrest is distinctly different from a heart attack which usually occurs when a blocked artery prevents blood from reaching the heart. A heart attack can happen quickly but most often builds up over hours or days. Unlike in a cardiac arrest, the heart does not stop beating during a heart attack. Regardless, a rapid response is imperative in either case.
Here are some facts about cardiac arrest and quick response.
- There are approximately 40,000 cardiac arrests each year in Canada. That’s one cardiac arrest every 12 minutes.
- Cardiac arrests shut down circulation and oxygen to the brain and will result in death without rapid and appropriate treatment.
- For every one minute delay in defibrillation, the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim decreases by 7%-10%.
- After 12 minutes without treatment, the survival rate is less than 5%.
- The chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest is substantially improved when automated external defibrillators (AED) and CPR are immediately deployed.
- Combined with CPR, the use of an AED may increase the likelihood of survival by 75% or more.
- Any public location or workplace that has 1000 adults over the age of 35 present per day during the normal business hours can expect one incident of sudden cardiac arrest every five years.
- The Heart and Stroke Foundation estimates that thousands of lives can be saved through public access to automated external defibrillators.
- AEDs are small, portable defibrillation devices used to deliver a shock to correct or restart electrical activity in the heart. They are safe and easy to use by almost anyone.
- Legislation in Canada protects individuals who use AEDs from liability when they are used in the context of saving a life.
What Does an AED Do?
A processor inside the AED analyzes the victim’s heart rhythm through adhesive electrodes placed on a patient’s chest.
The processor analyzes the heart rhythm and advises if a shock is required. An electric current is delivered to the heart through the victim’s chest wall through the adhesive electrode pads.
Cardiac Defibrillators are specifically designed not to shock unless a lifesaving shock is required.
The shock delivered by a cardiac defibrillator interrupts the chaotic rhythm and allows it to return to normal.
What Is Defibrillation?
Defibrillation is the delivery of lifesaving electrical energy to the heart during an abnormal rhythm. Electricity is passed through the heart from electrodes placed on the chest.
Is SCA the Same as a Heart Attack?
No. A heart attack is when a blockage in an artery results in a lack of oxygen to the heart muscle, ultimately causing damage. Heart attack victims may experience chest pain and usually remain conscious. Heart attacks are serious and can lead to SCA. However, SCA may occur independently from a heart attack and without warning. SCA results in death if not treated immediately.
What Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
SCA is a malfunction of the heart’s electrical system, which causes it suddenly and unexpectedly to begin to beat rapidly, then erratically, and finally to stop altogether. Two of the most common onsets are a rapid heartbeat called ventricular tachycardia (VT) and a chaotic heartbeat called ventricular fibrillation (VF).
When this happens, the heart cannot pump blood effectively. As such, blood flow to the brain is compromised and the victim quickly loses consciousness.
During SCA, CPR alone will not restart the heart. Cardiac defibrillation within minutes is the only effective means to restart the heart. Survival from cardiac arrest decreases 10 percent with each minute from the time of collapse to defibrillation.
How many people do I need to have trained in first aid?
Employers must ensure that first aid stations are under the care of a worker with a valid first aid certificate at all times when work is in progress. Employers with more than one shift require first aiders for each shift. Having multiple trained first aiders is recommended to ensure compliance when a first aider is away from work ill or on vacation.
Employers with large workplaces need to have multiple trained first aiders. It is recommended that a first aider should be able to reach an injured or ill worker within a two minute walk (based on information that brain damage starts after about 4 minutes of no oxygen). Employers should conduct an assessment of their workplace to determine how quickly it would take for a first aider to attend to an injured or ill worker.
I lost my first aid certificate. How do I get a copy?
Please contact email@example.com and let them know your full name, date of course and location, for a pdf version of your certificate – this is free of charge. If a reprinted certificate is required, please include your mailing address – there is an admin fee for reprinted certificates.
How often do I need to recertify my first aid / CPR?
Occupational Health & Safety requires you to recertify within 3 years of your course date. Some employers require you to recertify more often.
What do the Levels of CPR mean?
CPR-A is adult CPR
CPR-B is adult & child CPR
CPR-C is infant, child & adult CPR
BLS Health Care Provider (CPR HCP) is infant, child, adult 2 rescuer CPR, AED and Oxygen Administration
Is CPR training equivalent to first aid training?
No, CPR is a mandatory module as part of a first aid training program.
What training is required?
Our first aid courses are designed to meet the local provincial/territorial requirements across Canada. In Ontario for instance, training depends on the number of workers per shift at a workplace:
a) For workplaces with 5 or fewer workers on any one shift, an Emergency First Aid certificate is required. This program consists of 6.5 hours of instruction.
b) For workplaces with 6 or more workers on any shift, a Standard First Aid certificate is required. This program consists of 13 hours of instruction.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for specific training requirements for your province.