March 2, 2009

TORONTO – The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (HSFO), together with Toronto EMS and the TTC, is making cardiac safety the next stop for 1.6 million daily TTC commuters. Today, the Foundation announced the installation of 30 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in TTC subway stations.

The AEDs are part of a $3 million province-wide grant from the Ministry of Health Promotion. Funding was also provided by Transamerica Life Canada as part of their $650,000 commitment to the Heart&Stroke Chase McEachern Tribute Fund and Restart A Heart, Restart A Life Public Access Defibrillator program in Ontario.

"The wellness of our riders is one of our top priorities," says TTC Vice-Chair Joe Mihevc. "The TTC is excited to be working with our colleagues at Toronto EMS to install defibrillators at 30 of our busiest stations across the subway system."

Preparing to save the lives of those who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest has always been a priority for the Foundation.  As a result, the HSFO is directing funds to expand the number of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in high priority public places in the GTA under the Cardiac Safe City Program run by Toronto EMS.

“The odds of survival following cardiac arrest are almost four times greater if someone performs CPR immediately, and when combined with early defibrillation, AEDs can increase survival rates to 50 per cent or more if delivered in the first few minutes,” said Bill Thomas, Interim CEO, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. “We are very pleased with the potential of today’s announcement to save lives.”

 “The McGuinty government’s partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation provides increased public access for life-saving equipment in local communities,” said Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best. “The installation of AEDs in so many high-traffic TTC stations will provide easy access to life saving treatment for Toronto’s commuters.”

“We are pleased to be a part of this initiative with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario,” said Douglas Brooks, President and CEO of Transamerica Life Canada. “AEDs and the appropriate CPR training have the potential to make a huge impact on the lives of Canadians and we are really excited to assist in bringing them to high traffic subway stations across Toronto.”

 “In cases of cardiac arrest, the early use of CPR and AEDs can make the difference between life and death,” said Toronto EMS Chief Bruce Farr.  We need community members to perform these life-saving skills before our paramedics arrive, to ensure the best possible chance of survival.”

The stations scheduled to receive an AED with associated training are:

    * Bathurst
    * Bay
    * Bloor-Yonge
    * Broadview
    * College
    * Don Mills
    * Downsview
    * Dufferin
    * Dundas
    * Dundas West
    * Eglinton
    * Finch
    * Islington
    * Kennedy
    * King
    * Kipling
    * Pape
    * Queen
    * Queen’s Park
    * Scarborough Centre
    * Sheppard-Yonge
    * Spadina
    * St. Andrew
    * St. Clair
    * St. Clair West
    * St. George
    * Union
    * Victoria Park
    * Warden
    * York Mills

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 40,000 Canadians experience cardiac arrest each year, the majority of which occur either at home or in public places. In Ontario alone, approximately 7,000 cardiac arrests occur each year.  The odds of survival for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are approximately five per cent.  With each passing minute, the probability of survival declines by seven-to-10 percent. 

For more information, please contact:

    * Diane Hargrave, Public Relations, HSFO
      416-467-9954, ext. 104  
      Email:  dhprbks@interlog.com
    * Mike DeToma, TTC Corporate Communications
      416-393-3741
      Email: mike.detoma@ttc.ca
    * Lyla Miller, Toronto EMS
      416-392-2255, 416-708-8125 (cell)
      Email: lmiller3@toronto.ca

 

TTC Backgrounder

Announcement

The TTC is installing Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in subway stations across the system. The first fully functioning unit will be at Bloor-Yonge Station, Collectors Level (Bay Store entrance) on March 2.

A total of 30 defibrillators will be installed at 30 stations by late spring. The TTC has 69 subway/rt stations.

Stations that will be equipped with the units are:

    * Bathurst
    * Bay
    * Bloor-Yonge
    * Broadview  
    * College
    * Don Mills
    * Downsview
    * Dundas
    * Dundas West
    * Dufferin  
    * Eglinton                        
    * Finch
    * Islington
    * Kennedy
    * King
    * Kipling
    * Pape
    * Queen
    * Queen’s Park
    * Scarborough Centre
    * Sheppard-Yonge
    * Spadina
    * St. Andrew
    * St. Clair
    * St. Clair West
    * St. George
    * Union
    * Victoria Park
    * Warden  
    * York Mills

What this means for TTC riders

The TTC is excited to be a partner in bringing this important life-saving tool to TTC customers.

Defibrillators are very easy to use and are there for customers to access in the event of a cardiac emergency. As well, a cross-section of TTC employees will receive familiarization training.

Defibrillators are an important safety tool to help protect the well-being of our riders. Other TTC tools include: Passenger Assistance Alarms, closed circuit cameras, two-way voice intercoms in elevators and on platforms, public telephones and Transit Special Constables.

Subway defibrillators will be located in the vicinity Collector Booths, in white cabinets, 15 inches by 13 inches in size, glass-fronted and appropriately labeled.

Statistics

Bloor-Yonge Station is the TTC’s busiest subway station with more than 200,000 people passing through this station every business day. In 2008, the subway station with the most EMS calls was Bloor-Yonge.

Bloor-Yonge, St. George, Finch, Union and Kennedy are the TTC’s five busiest stations with more than 600,000 people passing through them every business day.

Total up all the TTC customers that pass through our busiest 30 stations and you have well over one million people who could potentially make use of one of these new subway station defibrillators.

In 2008, the TTC experienced nearly 1,400 incidents of customers becoming ill or injured on subway trains or in subway stations. Of those, approximately 900 people (or 64 per cent of incidents) required a trip to the hospital.

Background

The placement of defibrillator units was assessed by TTC and EMS staff based on a combination of customer volume and proximity to a Collector Booth. Toronto EMS owns and will maintain the AEDs. These units were provided to the EMS by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. Each unit is valued at approximately $1,500.

Automated External Defibrillators are used in combination with CPR to help restore heart rhythm when an individual goes into cardiac arrest. Defibrillation, when used with CPR, can improve cardiac arrest survival to more than 50 per cent if delivered in the first few minutes.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, about 7,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in the province.

The Toronto EMS Cardiac Safe City Program oversees more than 600 AEDs in the Greater Toronto Area. Today, AEDs are located in community centres, hockey arenas and libraries.

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