Big White Ski Resort awarded public access AED

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Big White Ski Resort has been awarded a new Automated External Defibrillator (AED) by the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, which has been installed close to Canada’s highest outdoor skating rink in Happy Valley. 

This is Big White’s second publically accessed AED, with the first located in the Village Centre Mall next to the Ticket Office. 

The AED is designed to help with resuscitation in the case of a sudden cardiac arrest and was awarded to qualifying hockey and skating rink facilities across Canada. 

Kris Hawryluik, Patrol Director at Big White Ski Resort, applied for the program and helped with installation of the machine once the application was approved in February this year.  

“There is a cardiac arrest chain of survival,” explained Hawryluik. “The AED is a useful tool that is necessary in this chain of survival. The current survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest is under 7% - this tool increases the possibility of us saving lives.”

With Big White’s public access AEDs in Happy Valley and the Village Centre Mall, Ski Patrol’s AEDs and the Fire Department’s AEDs, the resort has a grand total of seven units on the mountain.

“In Canada, these machines are especially successful at hockey and skating rinks,” added Hawryluik. “Anyone trained in CPR can use it.”

The defibrillator installed at Happy Valley is designed to be the easiest-to-own AED – Hawryluik explains that it’s simple to use by just opening the door and following the prompts. Big White Ski Resort is responsible for maintaining the machine and reporting any successful saves to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

“We’re very happy to have it, but we never want to have to use it,” said Hawryluik.

Should general public witness a sudden cardiac arrest or any other medical emergency, they are always advised to call 911. Early recognition of symptoms and early activation of emergency medical services are the two most important steps to saving a life. 

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