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Public Access Defibrillation History
In 2000, funds started to be raised by the Waldron family in memory of their son Shawn, who died of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Funds were entrusted to the Regional EMS Foundation and in 2002 donated to the Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Medical Service (GPREMS) to hire the first PAD Coordinator and launch the official program “Operation Heart Safe”. In April 2009 when EMS transitioned into AHS, Operation Heart Safe had facilitated placement of over 200 AEDs across Peace Country and trained thousands of people to recognize cardiac emergencies and start bystander CPR, all with fundraised dollars.
From July 2000 until September 2003, the City of Edmonton was one of 24 communities across North America that participated in the Public Access Defibrillation Trial (PAD Trial). The trial was undertaken to determine whether deployment of AEDs in public locations would increase survival following out-of-hospital Sudden Cardiac Arrests. In 2009, the “Edmonton Heart Safe Program" transitioned into AHS with 500 AEDs registered in an online database that is being used as the template for the new provincial online AED registration program.
In 1998, the City of Calgary Emergency Medical Services and Fire Department began to formalize an action plan to promote public access to AEDs and develop the concept of Calgary being a “Heart Safe City”. Heart Safe City held mass CPR and AED training for the public, offered AED placement best practice guidelines to potential AED sites, and completed all the maintenance and upkeep on the City of Calgary AEDs. When EMS became part of Alberta Health Services in 2009, the Heart Safe City AED database had over 1000 AEDs registered.