The province is reminding Manitobans that, starting Saturday, lifesaving defibrillators will be required by law in designated public places.
Manitoba was the first province in Canada to develop legislation requiring public places to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) available on site. Defibrillators deliver an electric shock to restart a stopped heart and are programmed to detect if a person is having an irregular heart rhythm that indicates potential cardiac arrest.
Under the Defibrillator Public Access Act, designated facilities include high-traffic public places where cardiac arrest is more likely to occur, such as gyms, swimming pools, indoor arenas, certain community centres, golf courses, malls, schools and airports. A full list of designated public places required to have a defibrillator on site is available online.
AEDs offer step-by-step instructions, so training is not required. If the AED does not detect a shockable heart rhythm, the machine does not deliver a shock.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba, defibrillation used with CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can improve cardiac-arrest survival rates by 75 per cent or more over CPR alone.