MLA Shirley Bond, BC Liberal Critic for Health, has re-introduced her private member’s bill, the Defibrillator Public Access Act, to help save lives in British Columbia.
“This year, at least 7,000 British Columbians could experience sudden cardiac arrest, and without access to an automated external defibrillator (AED), they only have a 10 per cent chance of survival,” said Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount. “Every minute counts when responding to a sudden cardiac arrest and it can affect anyone, anywhere, and at any time, often without warning. As such, there remains a need for better access to AEDs, which is why I am re-introducing the Defibrillator Public Access Act — a step to ensure that every public building in B.C. has an AED that is visible, registered, and maintained.”
Bond’s private members’ bill would make AEDs mandatory in public buildings. The bill also establishes requirements related to signage, maintenance, and registration, as well as clarifies civil liability. These AEDs would be registered with BC Emergency Health Services and linked to the ambulance dispatch information system so that dispatchers can direct callers to the nearest AED.
Bond is a long-time advocate for increasing access to AEDs, and in addition to introducing this private member’s bill in the past, her family has placed AEDs in public spaces in Prince George, McBride, and Valemount on behalf of the Bill Bond Memorial Fund which is part of the Prince George Community Foundation and in partnership with Heart and Stroke.
“We can double the low survival rate from out of hospital cardiac arrest if we make sure that more people know CPR and that AEDs are available, accessible and rescue-ready,” said Jeff Sommers, Heart and Stroke Director, Health Policy and Systems in British Columbia. “Providing bystanders with the tools they can use if they witness a cardiac arrest will make a lasting impact in terms of lives saved.”
“Defibrillator access is deeply important to my family and to British Columbians across the province,” said Bond. “With this legislation, we can address the barriers that exist for public access to AEDs and save thousands of lives here in British Columbia.”