Sechelt Council and the Sechelt Community Forest recently presented Rotary Club of the Sunshine Coast an award of $35,000 which will be dedicated to providing life-saving defibrillators throughout the Sunshine Coast.
 
While hiking around Bowen Island, BC, Sunshine Coast Rotary member, Laurean Reid, noticed that the Rotary Club of Bowen Island had installed Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at many trailheads and other locations around the community.
 
“I talked to the club and learned they had installed 19 of them, all outdoors,” she said.
 
Laurean and her husband, past president, Cameron Reid, were both moved by the story of how the idea to install outdoor AEDs on Bowen Island came to be. A man had collapsed with heart failure outside a pharmacy on Bowen Island. He could not be saved because the AED that could have re-started his heart was inside the building that was closed at the time.
 
While there are several units already on the Sunshine Coast, this highlighted an issue that most AEDs are inside. This is something Laurean has been working to change.
 
After about two years of hard work by Laurean and other rotary members, the Rotary Club of the Sunshine Coast recently received a $35,000 grant from the Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) to purchase 20 AEDs for distribution to our local communities. Geoff Craig, chair of the SCCF board of directors, said the Community Forest chose to support the AED project because “[the Rotary] has a great track record of doing things for the community.”
 
Rotary club members Doug Long and Kris Maharaj of Coast Wide Fire & Flood Restorations are designing boxes to protect the devices from the weather.  Friendship Park in Sechelt, the Davis Bay Parkway and Kinnikinnick Park are a few locations where outdoor AEDs will be installed.
 
Emergency Health Services unit chief, Cheryl Jensen, has offered to coordinate training sessions and will also monitor the devices. “But anyone even without training could use them,” Laurean said. An automated voice gives users step-by-step instructions, and once they are activated, a call is automatically sent out for an ambulance.
 
These AEDs will provide increased safety in both community and rural settings along the Sunshine Coast.
 
In keeping with the community safety theme, Laurean is also spearheading a project to convince members of the community to install bright, easy-to-read house number signs at the ends of their driveways. Installing these signs would provide invaluable help to direct first responders in emergency situations.