Frontenac County Emergency Services are looking for volunteers to receive training that could save their neighbours’ lives.
The program is designed to crowdsource first-response aid help people having an emergency.
For someone having a heart attack just a few minutes could mean the difference between life and death.
“The quicker we can get somebody to that person’s side, the more likely a successful outcome is going to be,” said Frontenac County paramedic Jason Kervin.
If paramedics aren’t close by, that ‘someone’ could be a neighbour.
That’s the theory behind Neighbours Saving Neighbours, a program spearheaded by Queen’s University associate professor Dr. Steven Brooks in partnership with Frontenac County Paramedics.
“We are looking for people who are interested in helping their neighbours and making their communities more safe,” said Brooks, who is part of the Queen’s University Emergency Medicine Department.
Regular people living in Frontenac County, which is largely rural, can receive free training in CPR and learn how to use an automated external defibrillator, or AED.
Once trained, these citizens could be alerted, and respond faster, to people in cardiac distress nearby, which Brooks and Kirven say increases the chances of survival.
“For every minute that nothing is being done for someone who experiences cardiac arrest, the chances of survival decrease by about 10 per cent,” said Brooks.
Volunteers will get CPR and AED training, as well as an AED to keep at the ready.
They’ll get a special app that will notify them instantly when a cardiac call happens nearby, in hopes that they can spring into action and save a life.
The project is still in the pilot stage and Brooks says that over the next 18 months they’ll use the volunteers’ experience to gather as much data as they can, before taking a broader look at the impact.
“We’re measuring the time we save, we’re measuring the community acceptance of the program, the paramedic acceptance of the program, and the goal is that we iteratively improve the program as we go,” Brooks said.
So far, Brooks said that 75 people have volunteered for the training and if even one of them can keep a neighbour’s heart beating until paramedics like Kirven can get there, it could be a neighbourly gesture like no other.
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