Public Access Defibrillation is Here in Toronto!

Join us on the leading edge of technology

Every year over 6,500 people in Ontario die of a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Most sudden cardiac arrests are caused by a disturbance in the heart's electrical system. It is common knowledge that when electricity touches muscle it contracts. As an organ made primarily of muscle, the heart is no different - in fact, electrical impulses are responsible for telling the heart when and how quickly to contract, thus sending blood throughout our bodies. When this system malfunctions, lethal cardiac rhythms can occur. Statistics show that most of these people who are in sudden cardiac arrest are in ventricular fibrillation.

Ventricular fibrillation is a state where the heart muscle itself quivers and does not pump blood. Victims collapse and quickly lose consciousness, often without warning. Unless normal heart rhythm is restored, death follows within a matter of minutes. Cardiac arrest is the single leading cause of death in Canada and often strikes without warning.

While cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can maintain circulation for a very short period of time after a sudden cardiac arrest occurs, early defibrillation (or electric shock), if administered within a few minutes, is the only intervention that can convert ventricular fibrillation into a normal heart rhythm. Every minute that the defibrillation is delayed results in a 10% decrease in surviving the sudden cardiac arrest.

Whether it is assisting the victim who is choking, stopping bleeding or recognizing signs and symptoms of a medical emergency we know that the first person on the scene of a medical emergency or accident can save a life. This could be you!

In Toronto, emergency services respond to over two thousand cardiac arrests in the community every year with 16% to 20% of these cardiac arrests occurring in a public place. Shopping malls, office buildings or industrial sites are a real challenge to responding 911 emergency medical crews because sudden cardiac arrest victims may be located many floors above or below street level. This delay in accessing the victim will delay the delivery of a lifesaving shock by more than five minutes. Trained defibrillation providers at these locations could dramatically reduce the time to first shock and increase the victim’s chances of survival from a sudden cardiac arrest. The device will automatically analyze the victim's heart and advise the operator to deliver a shock if it is needed. This shock stops the heart muscle from quivering and can restore the pumping of blood. Early defibrillation can save someone's life!

The objective of the PAD program is to train "Targeted Responders" to use an AED on victims of SCA. A Targeted Responder is someone within the City of Toronto who, at minimum, has received first aid, CPR, and AED training. They are "targeted" because they are the staff that would respond in their work site in the event of an emergency. With early recognition, early access to 911 and initiation of CPR, a targeted responder can save a life!

What is the Public Access Defibrillator Program?

The public access defibrillator program or PAD, is part of an integrated system of responses to cardiac emergencies. The PAD program builds upon the established emergency medical system, which includes Toronto paramedics, emergency medical dispatchers, police officers and firefighters.

The PAD program also includes the medical director of the Base Hospital, a provider course and continuing education.

Who is a PAD Provider?

A person who has successfully completed the public access defibrillation program and is certified to provide these skills under the direction of the program's medical director.

The Role of the PAD Provider

The certified pubic access defibrillation provider will go to an emergency in the workplace. If needed, he/she will use the automatic external defibrillator (AED) to deliver a shock to the heart of a victim of cardiac arrest. He/she will also initiate any in-house emergency response protocols specific to their location, begin CPR when required and ensure that 911 is called as soon as possible.

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In 3 easy steps you can prepare your work site to save a life.

  1. Call us to set up a work site assessment visit at
    1-87-SAFECITY or 416-338-0475

  2. Following the assessment we will meet with you and discuss where best to locate the AED devices and identify who should be trained as "Target Responders". This will also be an opportunity to answer any questions you may have about a PAD program for your work site

  3. We will assist in the purchase and training of your PAD program.

Cardiac Safe City Program - Mission Statement

The Toronto EMS Cardiac Safe City program is dedicated to saving the lives of those in our community suffering sudden cardiac arrest, through the provision, maintenance and promotion of public access defibrillation programs both in and beyond our city limits.

The Cardiac Safe City Model

Wherever and whenever a heart stops beating, a lifesaving shock from an AED delivered by a trained Targeted Responder or a Good Samaritan are just minutes away.

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