The Cowan Foundation contributes its second $1 million to strengthen Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Program

Contribution will place additional AEDs and provide for AED and CPR training across Canada

The Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) today announced a $1 million contribution by The Cowan Foundation to its national Heart&Stroke Restart a Heart, Restart a Life™ Automated External Defibrillator (AED) program.

The contribution will support the purchase, allocation, training and installation of AEDS in public places across the country. This represents the second million dollar donation from The Cowan Foundation to support the program.

“Our national AED program is growing, thanks to the exceptional support from our corporate sponsor, The Cowan Foundation. Their generous contribution will make defibrillators easily accessible to Canadians and increase the potential to help save the lives of Canadians in their communities,” says Irfhan Rawji, vice chair of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Defibrillators will be placed in public places across the country including community centers, sports arenas, and shopping malls. Criteria for determining areas most in need include emergency response times, the potential of higher incidence of sudden cardiac arrests in large public places, and local readiness to support a public access defibrillator program.

“In 2007, we partnered with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario by providing $1 million to assist in the distribution of AEDs across the province. That program was a resounding success — and to date 18 lives have been saved,” explains Maureen Cowan, President of The Cowan Foundation. “Through the efforts of Heart and Stroke Canada, this program continues to gain momentum and we are pleased to extend our support to a further $1 million to help save more lives by increasing access to AEDs in communities throughout Canada.”

In Ontario alone, eighteen lives have been saved as a direct result of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s regional initiatives placing AEDs in public places.

“Personnel knowledgeable in resuscitation and quick access to an AED saved my life,” said cardiac arrest survivor Andre Corriveau of Ottawa. “Because of them I’ll be able to spend Christmas with my family.”

It is vital to create cardiac-safe communities everywhere by training in CPR and placing more AEDs in public places,” added cardiac arrest survivor Michel Langevin of Sturgeon Falls, Ontario who collapsed while playing hockey last year. “When I collapsed on the ice my life was literally in the hands of someone who’d taken the time to know CPR. I am living proof that AEDs save lives.”

AEDs make it possible for non-medical personnel to restore heart rhythm and life. The AED uses voice prompts and text messages to tell the rescuer what steps to take and delivers an electric shock to the heart. AEDs are safe and effective when used within minutes of collapse at restarting the heart and restoring life.

The Heart&Stroke Restart a Heart, Restart a Life™ program is committed to increasing the number of AEDs in communities across Canada. The program focuses on increasing public awareness of the role of AEDs and encourages citizens to make a difference by learning CPR so they are able to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest emergency. The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s CPR Anytime For Family and Friends ™ kit helps people learn CPR and lifesaving skills in as little as 22 minutes.

The Cowan Foundation presented a $1 million cheque to the Heart and Stroke Foundation at a ceremony at the Ottawa Capital Region YMCA this morning. Ottawa Emergency Medical Service (EMS) identified the community centre as an area in need and placed an AED in this location through a contribution from The Cowan Foundation.

Today’s announcement underscores the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s commitment to resuscitation. Providing better access to AEDs is an essential component of the Chain of Survival™ which includes early access to the EMS system through 9-1-1 or local emergency numbers, early CPR, early defibrillation, and early advanced care. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Automated External Defibrillators save lives.

In Canada, up to 45,000 cardiac arrests occur each year. The odds of survival for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are approximately five per cent. With each passing minute, the probability of survival declines by seven to 10 per cent, according to the Foundation. Defibrillation combined with CPR can improve cardiac arrest survival rates by 50 per cent or more if delivered in the first few minutes.

About The Cowan Foundation

The Cowan Foundation is a charitable foundation that was activated in 1995 in honour of Frank Cowan, the company founder. The Foundation exists because of the success of the Cowan Group of Companies including Cowan Insurance Group, Frank Cowan Company, the Guarantee Company of North America and Millennium CreditRisk Management. Together they provide insurance and risk management products and services for individuals, businesses, organizations and public entities as well as assisting employers with their group benefits, retirement and health and disability management plans.