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Gélinas bill would allow 911 operators to direct callers to defibs

Legislation would create a registry of defibrillators accessible to emergency operators
Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas. (File)

Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas says a registry of public defibrillators available to 911 operators would help save the lives of people suffering emergency heart trouble. 

On Nov. 19, Gélinas, the NDP health critic, introduced the Defibrillator Registry Act. If passed, the legislation give 911 operators the ability to direct callers to the nearest automatic external defibrillator (AED), a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and is able to treat them through defibrillation, effectively shocking the heart with electricity to return it to a normal rhythm.

Gélinas' bill would result in the creation of a registry of the location of public AEDs and the appointment of a registrar to maintain that registry.

The act would also set requirements for the maintenance of the defibrillators, make the minister responsible for developping programs and services to assist in identifying locations to install defibrillators, and develop a complaints mechanism for the public.

“Health promotion organizations like Heart and Stroke have been asking for years for an easily accessible registry of the province's AEDs,” Gélinas said in a news release. “The province of Manitoba has had legislation on the books since 2012; it’s time for Ontario to catch up.”

Gélinas also tipped her hat to Sudbury physicians Dr. Robert Ohle and Dr. Sarah McIsaac. The husband and wife team created the Northern City of Heroes initiative to train people in CPR and to help fund the installation of AEDs in public places.

Back in August, the couple's efforts in conjunction with the Chase McEachern Memorial Fund provided funding for Sudbury’s first defibrillator in a daycare, located at Laurentian University Child and Family Centre