Olympic AEDs given to community

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Vancouver won in more ways than one by hosting the Olympic Games in 2010. More than 200 community groups, aboriginal communities, search-and-rescue organizations, ski patrols, hockey leagues, schools and non-profit groups have received surplus automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that were used during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Paralympics.

Nearly 350 groups across Canada applied for the machines, and more than 200 will be refurbished and distributed to the groups, according to Shelley Parker, a spokeswoman for Medtronic, of which Physio-Control, makers of the AEDs, is a subsidiary.

Metronic had loaned the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) nearly 300 machines, including updated models that were used in hospitals or polyclinic settings. Medtronic agreed to the $2 million donation as part of its involvement as a "Friend of the Games," according to Mike Wilkinson, MD, VANOC's chief medical officer.

A number of units that included monitoring devices and require a trained physician will also be delivered to sports development programs, university cardiac rehabilitation facilities and teaching institutions.

Most of the AEDs are meant to be located in high-visibility public locations like arenas, community centers and schools, and are meant for use by untrained people who witness someone going into cardiac arrest, said Parker.