For immediate release
Oct. 9, 2015
Lifesaving devices installed on Northern Health Connections buses
Potentially lifesaving automated external defibrillators (AEDs) have been installed on all Northern Health Connections buses, enhancing the safety of northern B.C. residents who use this service to reach out-of-town health-care appointments.
“The Northern Health Connections health-care travel service is essential for patients in the North to get to and from out-of-town medical appointments and this added safety feature is great news for local residents,” said Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount. “Having an affordable, reliable travel system helps relieve stress for patients, allowing them to focus their energies on their health.”
The Heart and Stroke Foundation provided the AEDs through the BC Public Access to Defibrillation Program (BC PAD program), a partnership with the B.C. Government and B.C. Emergency Health Services, to place AEDs in public places. AEDs deliver a shock that helps restore normal heart rhythm in people in cardiac arrest, and have been proven to be effective in saving lives if used in a timely manner.
“Sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone at any time and the use of an AED combined with CPR can significantly increase chances of survival,” said Mike Morris, Prince George-Mackenzie MLA. “With these additional AEDs, Northern patients will have added safety on the road.”
AEDs are very user-friendly, as they provide a series of voice and visual instructions once they are powered on. All Northern Health Connections bus drivers have attended an orientation session provided by a BC Ambulance Service paramedic, which included AED and CPR training. An added benefit of having AEDs on board the buses is that they could be used roadside on a member of the general public found to be experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
“Patient safety is key on our Northern Health Connections bus service and adding the automated defibrillation devices on all units will help enhance our response for riders if needed,” said Michael McMillan, Northern Health Chief Operating Officer. “We are thankful for the BC PAD program, which allows us to address the potential for sudden cardiac arrest.”
The Northern Health Connections bus service provides an affordable transportation option for northern B.C. residents to reach out-of-town health-care appointments. In addition to the announcement of the AEDs, one coach and two mini coach buses have replaced older vehicles in the fleet as part of a new five-year contract and Northern Health’s commitment to continuous improvement in service and safety. The new coach services the long-haul routes between Vancouver, Prince George and Prince Rupert. The new mini coaches travel to Fort St. John twice a week and service the three-day-a-week route between Fort St. John and Dawson Creek. The new coach bus holds 44 people, while the mini coaches hold 26 people and now include bathrooms.
The Connections bus service is offered in partnership with contractor Diversified Transportation, and offers five coaches and six mini coach buses for both short- and long-haul routes. Routes on the Northern Health Connections bus service start at $20 round-trip, and trips can now be booked online through the new online reservation system at nhconnections.ca.