Restart a Heart - a Life

In Canada, 40,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest  each year. Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in Saskatchewan.  When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, the chance of survival is zero without fast action – including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use of a device called an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Combined, these actions improve survival rates by close to 50 per cent if delivered in the first few minutes. With each passing minute, the probability of survival declines by 7 to 10 per cent.

Until recently, only medical and paramedical staff could use defibrillators. However, technology exists today that allows people with minimal training to utilize an AED safely, making public access to defibrillators crucially important and potentially saving thousands of lives.  

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan, in consultation with Regional Health Authorities, are implementing a Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) program known as Restart a Heart - a Life. This program empowers communities in Saskatchewan to combat sudden cardiac arrest through education, training and ongoing support. The main goal of PAD is to increase survival rates for people who otherwise would not survive.

Survivor Stories

Public Access Defibrillation – What can you do?


In Canada, 40,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest each year.  Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart unexpectedly stops beating effectively.

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, at any age, to anyone.

Chances are that sudden cardiac arrest will happen in the home and in the presence of family. There is a real need for everyone, especially families of higher risk people, to take a CPR course. Recognize the signs and Call 9-1-1

  • Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Fear

If the victim is suddenly unresponsive and not breathing, start CPR immediately and send someone to find the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED).

During sudden cardiac arrest the heart stops beating at a normal rhythm and begins to flutter, and stops pumping blood through the body. To correct the fluttering, the heart needs to be stopped using an AED in order to give it a chance to restart a normal heart rhythm.

AEDs are small portable devices that can be used by anyone who has recieved training to help save a friend, spouse, neighbour or family member.

Unfortunately, too many Saskatchewan communities do not have enough AEDs in high-traffic sites, leaving residents with a decreased chance of survival in the event of a cardiac arrest. Find out where defibrillators are in your community. You can help change this by asking your local facility manager, town or city council or MLA to have more AEDs placed in neighbourhoods and public facilities.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is asking you to help save a life

Take a CPR course through the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan to learn life skills that will help you respond in an emergency situation and potentially save a loved one's life.

Challenge your schools, community officials, businesses, seniors centers and employers to purchase an AED and join the fight to combat sudden cardiac arrest.

Click here to find the nearest course and to learn more about the Restart a Heart - Restart a Life program, e-mail or go to or call toll-free 1-888-473-4636.

If you don’t have time to attend a CPR or AED course, consider buying a CPR Anytime Family&Friends kit. It contains a DVD and a mannequin and takes only 22 minutes to learn.

Company or organization

Large workplaces or public venues with high traffic/crowd numbers are at higher likelihood of being the site of a cardiac arrest, especially if the work force or visitors are in the 40+ age group.

The closer the AED and a trained provider are to someone having a heart attack - whether it is your co-worker, your customer or yourself - the greater the chance of survival. The implementation of an AED program may be the most cost-effective health investment and employee insurance program available to your organization.

There is a strong Occupational Health and Safety/workplace safety rationale for businesses and public venues to install an AED and to train people in their use. The Heart and Stroke Foundation is leading a campaign to help you and your business or venue get involved in the Public Access Defibrillation (PAD)  program.

If your company has an AED program

Contact your health region to join the local Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) program today. By joining this wide spread network of automated external defibrillator (AED) locations, your business/organization can become an essential link in the chain of survival by providing an opportunity for a person experiencing sudden cardiac arrest to have immediate access to an automated external defibrillator AED and increasing their chance of survival.

Does my company need an AED program?

An AED program could be right for your organization or community if:

  • It is a place where people gather for work or leisure
  • It is in a location that Emergency Medical Services cannot access quickly (within 5 minutes) because of long distances, heavy traffic, or building layout (high rise or large venue)
  • It is a place where people are at high risk for cardiac arrest, such as a seniors centre
  • The health of workers, clients, or community members is an organizational priority

Contact your health region to speak to the PAD program coordinator, who can help with the following:

  • Purchasing an AED
  • Developing an AED policy
  • Developing a routine maintenance schedule
  • Coordinating training opportunities according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada guidelines
  • Developing an EMS Activation Plan
  • Linking your AED program with local EMS service
  • Conducting post incident review and coordinating critical incident stress debriefing if needed
  • Providing ongoing support

Click here for more about cardiac arrest and CPR.