With November marking CPR Month, St. John Ambulance BC are hoping more British Columbians sign up to learn how to perform CPR and use an automated external defibrillator (AED).

The organization says up to 40,000 Canadian’s are killed as a result of a sudden cardiac arrest each year, and it can happen to anyone, no matter their age or fitness level.

Learning and Development Officer Christopher Chan says this could be reduced drastically if everyone knew how to react quickly and accordingly. 

“We’re the first people on the scene and if somebody has suffered from a cardiac arrest and nobody does anything what happens is that for every minute that CPR AED is delayed, the person’s chance of survival decreases by 10 per cent. On average even if somebody called 911 it will take at least 7 minutes for paramedics to arrive.”

“The more people that know how to do CPR, the more people that can use the AED, and the more AEDs that are available, the chance of survival for the person in cardiac arrests is going to be higher,” he adds.

Chan also says almost 80 per cent of sudden cardiac arrests happen outside of a hospital setting, whether it’s at home, work, or another public space, and with only 37 per cent of Canadians saying that they or someone in their household know CPR,  the survival rate is quite low.

To help combat this, the organization is encouraging more British Columbians to get educated and take part in courses, which are available for any and all First Aid levels. 

To learn more about CPR and AED awareness month, visit the St.John Ambulance BC & Yukon website.