New Lowell couple installs home AED

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Having seen first hand the importance of a timely response when it comes to cardiac arrest, New Lowell residents Brittany and Justin McLeod have installed an automated external defibrillator (AED) at their house for everyone to use. 

“We thought it would be a good idea,” said Brittany. “We live on the 5th Concession of New Lowell so it takes a bit of time if EMS or [the fire department] were to come to our area, or at least our street and back in to the subdivision… Seeing as defibrillators are best used within the first four to six minutes of someone going into cardiac arrest.”

Both Brittany and Jason are seven-year members of the Clearview fire department. The fire department carries defibrillators in their vehicles, and Brittany works as a trainer for Action First Aid, the company that sells the defibrillators.   

The defibrillator is already installed and ready for use. It is mounted on the west side of the house, outdoors in a special temperature regulated case, easily accessible to everyone in the neighbourhood. They initiated a fundraiser through their Neighbourhood Defibrillator Program and have raised $3,366 toward the $5,000 goal, which covers the cost of installing the “Save Station” including the device and the box that allows it to remain outside during all four seasons. 

“The whole point of doing the whole outside Save Station is so that anybody can access it because many schools have defibrillators, local buildings have these but once they are locked for the night, when people go home from work nobody can access them so we want to make sure they are accessible all the time,” said Brittany. 

“They are very user friendly. Anybody can use them without having training.”

As soon as the machine is turned on, it prompts the user to follow voice commands, which talk the user through the whole process.

Brittany said 80 per cent of cardiac arrests happen near the home and every minute that goes by without use of an AED means 10 per cent less chance of survival. And time is of the essence, she said, because by the time people realize that someone is in cardiac arrest, usually four minutes have already passed by the time the initial 911 call is made.

When a defibrillator is used, their chance of survival goes up to 60-80 per cent.   

“I want everyone to have that fighting chance,” she said. “I want the community to be a safer community and I want my neighbours to have that peace of mind.”

The McLeods are hosting an information and training session for the AED at the fire hall in New Lowell at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 2. They will cover the location of the Save Station, provide a crash course on CPR and demonstrate how easy it is to use a defibrillator. People of all ages are welcome.

Donations toward the campaign will be accepted at the event and also online at crowdfunding.actionfirstaid.ca/campaign/18/new-lowell. 

The defibrillator is located in New Lowell, at 5304 Concession 5 Sunnidale. For more information, contact [email protected]

Contributed photo: New Lowell residents Brittany and Justin McLeod, their neighbour Kassandra Barteaux with her son Ryder, and main sponsor Jeff McInnis of ReMax Wasaga Beach.

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