The words “dead at 45 years of age” seem wrong to write together. The first thought is “too young.” Sometimes when you hear “you can’t put a price on someone’s life” you may let your mind wander and think about a number…is there a number? How does 2500 sound? Too low? Because that’s all you may need to save someone’s life.
You may know by now about the man who was saved at the Welland Arena last Wednesday night. Quick acting bystanders with access to a public AED made sure that man’s family and friends didn’t have to deal with the phrase “dead at 45 years of age.” The reason the arena had the Automated External Defibrillator is because Welland’s Peggy Montague helped raise funds with PenFinancial to purchase a couple of units 5 years ago. Peggy’s son was dealing with heart arrhythmia which got the ball rolling towards fundraising and installation of the units. Since that time costs have dropped drastically, to the point where $2500 can have a unit installed and ready to go.
Units are self-contained, and usually have a daily self-test to make sure they’re ready if needed. When used they may require a battery replacement ($300-$400 on average, with 4-5 years average of stand-by time) and a replacement pair of shock pads (average cost of $100.) A total of $500 per usage seems like a fair price for saving someone’s life.
They’re not just in the Welland Arena. All arenas in St. Catharines have AEDs. Walk through the doors of the Gale Centre in Niagara Falls and within steps you’re greeted by a large red sign pointing out one of the multiple AEDs there. Shopping malls like the Pen Centre and Seaway Mall carry AEDs as well. When you put the costs up against the potential rewards, it really is a no-brainer when it comes to having them.
The key is public access. Seconds count, as every minute without aid knocks 7-10% off a person’s survival rate. It’s great if arena or mall staff have access to this units, but having an AED readily available and within reach to the general population makes it that much easier for anyone to step in and help out. And as you may have seen in recent commercials, you can’t fall into legal trouble for trying to help. A law passed in 2006 saves you from liability, specifically in the usage of an AED.
The last part of the puzzle is you. It can be learning CPR or how to use an AED (which are designed to be used by people with almost no training.) It can be knowing where to find help wherever you are. It can even be through donating, training, fundraising, or spreading the word for Heart Niagara. No one thinks they’ll ever be put in that kind of situation. But through family experience, knowing that you did everything you could is better than wishing you could have done more.
Picture the person you love most. $2500. It doesn’t even come close.