SASKATOON – First responders know when it comes to cardiac arrest, every second counts. But according to a new study, if you’re living in a highrise, it could affect your chances of survival.
A study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests high-rise homes are more challenging to get to and the floor you live on matters.
“The increasing number of people living in highrise buildings presents unique challenges to care and may cause delays for 911-initiated first responders,” the study notes.
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Out of the 7,842 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases, survival was greater on lower floors.
“As more highrise buildings are constructed in urban centres across Canada, the number of 911 calls for emergency medical services in highrise buildings will also continue to increase. Furthermore, over 40 per cent of homeowners over the age of 65 years reside in high-rise buildings,” the report says.
Building access issues, elevator delays and extended distance from the location of the responding vehicle to the patient can all contribute to delays in response times.
Troy Davies, director of public affairs and media relations with MD Ambulance Care says Saskatoon’s Heart Safe program tries to prevent that from happening through pushing for more automated external defibrillators throughout the city.
“We have over 800 businesses in our city that are heart safe and for that particular reason. You can’t get everywhere in that 10 minute window that we usually use. Four to six minutes and you’re talking brain damage,” he said.
AEDs can be found in businesses, churches and condos in Saskatoon. Davies says the technology is life-changing.
“Saskatoon is a leader. Twenty lives saved. The last most recent one we had was in August at the airport. TCU Place had a save last year. It’s the way of the future,” he said.