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4 Minutes to Save a Life

It’s a beautiful day at the cottage: the sun is shining, the water is lovely, you’re surrounded by family. There does not seem to be a care in the world. Boom! Someone has fallen on the dock.

You start walking over to check if they’re okay, then when the realization hits that they’re unresponsive. … you run. A sudden cardiac arrest is taking place and the next few minutes are vital to saving their life.

Having a working defibrillator at the cottage can make all the difference in those first few minutes. “The reality is that a cardiac arrest can occur at any place, at any time, to anyone.

Even when you’re relaxing at the cottage,” explains Deb Hennig, who owns Action First Aid with Roger, her husband.

The second a sudden cardiac arrest takes place, the clock starts ticking. Every minute that goes by the chance of survival drops 10 percent. Without quick access to an AED and CPR, the chances of survival are almost zero after 10 minutes.

“We stress the importance of a four-minute response time, because after four minutes brain damage starts to set in.”

Defibrillators are extremely safe for anyone to use: the AED will talk you through what to do and will only deliver a shock if needed, explains Deb.

“You won’t make the situation worse. In fact, it’s the person’s only chance if help is not extremely close by.” Studies show that survival rates can increase up to 75 percent with good CPR and the immediate use of an AED.

Shock on the dock
As a former teacher, Deb is really excited about their new Shock on the Dock program. Even though AEDs are easy to use, the situation is never easy when you are faced with something this serious. Knowing what to do is critical.

“Everyone should have the skills to step in and take action,” she says. The Shock on the Dock program is a short training program to get everyone confidently performing CPR and using an AED.

“We get it – you don’t want to dedicate a valuable weekend to a course,” she says. “So we send an instructor to you. We have a ton of fun and in less than two hours you will learn how to save a life.”

Cardiac-safe communities
Not everyone is able to equip their cottage or home with their own defibrillator. This is where Deb’s team is seeing neighbours coming together to help protect one another.

“We help cottage associations map out the best place for a publicly-available AED that can remain outside,” she says.

New technology allows Action First Aid to confidently place AEDs outdoors in SaveStations, letting them lead the way in helping others create cardiac-safe communities.

When people ask where they should position a SaveStation, Deb says it always come down to time. “We need to think ‘can I get to an AED and back to the person in four minutes?’ That’s ideal. If it takes more than 10 minutes, the reality is that it is often too late.”

Deb encourages every cottager to think about the location of the nearest AED and how long it will take to access it.

Once an AED gets placed, either in the home or within a community, Deb’s team will help launch a public awareness campaign so that the greatest number of people know where their closest AED is and how to use it.

“We are not an AED superstore,” she says. “We focus on education and want all of our customers to have the confidence and knowledge to step in and take action should an emergency ever occur.”

Proud Philips Distributor
Action First Aid is a national distributor of Philips AED Units, and has been for over 20 years. “Philips is a trusted name and manufacturer of life-saving defibrillators,” says Deb. “And we’re really happy to have a strong relationship with them. They always stand behind their product and have the number one selling home AED on the market.”


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