EDITORIAL: Devices help save lives

Automated external defibrilators (AED) life saving pieces of equipment

In her hometown of Killarney, Man., Shelly Greenlaw works out at a fitness centre similar to the one at the Greater Vernon Recreation Centre.

The one piece of equipment both gyms share is not to be used for working out.

Both sites house automated external defibrilators, portable devices that check the heart’s rhythm. If needed, the AED can also send an electric shock to the heart to try and restore a normal rhythm.

The machine came in handy for Greenlaw in January after she collapsed running on a treadmill at the rec centre’s weight room.

Rec centre staff were able to use the defibrilator on Greenlaw to restore her heart, which had stopped beating. That, combined with using first aid CPR compressions on Greenlaw saved the Killarney mother of three’s life.

Greenlaw, who returned to Vernon this week to watch her lifesavers be awarded with a B.C. Ambulance Service Vital Link award, believes if the rec centre was not equipped with an AED, she would not have survived.

“My heart did stop,” said Greenlaw, who now has her own implanted cardiac defibrilator. “It keeps my heart going. But AEDs are very important, whether they’re at the rec centre or elsewhere.”

There are two AEDs at the rec centre, the other is in the Priest Valley arena and gym complex.

Greenlaw still doesn’t know why she collapsed or why her heart stopped that day. She just knows that the place she was working out happened to have well-trained first aid personnel on hand, along with a device that jump-started her heart back into operation.

– Vernon Morning Star