Source: CBC News

Publicly accessible device is the 1st of its kind to be installed in Quebec

A Saint-Lazare couple whose son’s life was saved by a defibrillator is hoping to do the same for others by donating one that is publicly accessible 24/7 to a city park — the first device of its kind in Quebec.

In November of 2019, Rose Bloom’s 15-year-old son Jacob went into sudden cardiac arrest while playing hockey. She said he wouldn’t have survived had there not been somebody at the scene who knew CPR and, most importantly, had access to an automated external defibrillator (AED).

“We felt just so fortunate that we were lucky enough that the stars were aligned,” she said in an interview with CBC’s Daybreak.

Following the incident, Bloom wanted others to be able to rely on more than just chance if faced with the same life-threatening situation.

That’s when Bloom and her husband, Rodney Dawes, began learning more about sudden cardiac arrest and the importance of AEDs. The couple came across a Canadian company called Save Station, which sells the devices that can be installed both indoors and outdoors.

Jacob is pictured not long after coming out of the hospital following his sudden cardiac arrest. (Submitted by Rose Bloom)
The defibrillator is safe to use and does not require training. It's located outside the main building of Saint-Lazare's Westwood Park. (Submitted by Rose Bloom)

They decided to pay it forward by purchasing one and donating it to Westwood Park in their city.

“Obviously we hope that it never needs to be used but if someone’s in need, at least it’s there and it’s accessible 24/7,” said Bloom.

How it works

Contained in a heated and ventilated cabinet located outside the park’s main building, the defibrillator can be accessed by the public at all times year-round.

The minute the cabinet door is opened, an alarm goes off and the nearest fire station is alerted, thanks to a GPS. A second alarm sounds once the machine is used, telling first responders to get to the site of the medical emergency as soon as possible.

However, first responders may not always get there in time, which is why the AED is so important to have on hand, said Bloom.

“If somebody is unfortunate enough to have a sudden cardiac arrest, really what they absolutely need to survive is CPR and the AED — and the AED increases survival rate tremendously,” she said.

The machine is safe to use and does not require training, as the cabinet holds step-by-step instructions in both French and English.

‘A no-brainer,’ says Saint-Lazare mayor

Saint-Lazare Mayor Geneviève Lachance says when she first received the request from Bloom and her husband to have the device installed in the city, “it was a no-brainer that this needed to happen.”

She said the park was the perfect place to house the machine as it’s located right next to a high school and is used for several sports associations, including football, soccer and track.

“The safety of our residents and our youth using the facilities is very important,” she said. “We know that quick intervention is crucial in these cases so it’s really a good tool to have in case of an emergency.”

Lachance said she’s looking to see where else the device can be installed in Saint-Lazare.

Ribbon Cutting for SaveStation SS600VHM + CR2 at Parc Westwood chalet City of Saint-Lazare, Quebec on Tuesday, October 20, 2022, donation by Dawes Family (Rose Bloom) & Stone Landscaping

For Bloom, she’s hoping other municipalities, organizations and companies throughout Quebec start looking into equipping their facilities with the device. She hopes her story can inspire change.

“This was how we were going to try and give back … and we’re super happy that it’s there making our community that much safer,” she said.