Heart and Stroke Foundation
BC Public Access to Defibrillation (PAD) Program

Places in the Heart

An AED is a portable, safe and easy–to-use device to restart the heart in the case of a cardiac arrest. Without it, your chances of surviving are next to nil. That’s why the Heart and Stroke Foundation was looking to install AEDs in every community in British Columbia. And that’s where we came in.




Sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Recognizing this urgency, the Heart and Stroke Foundation had a vision to place automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in every community in the province. Context was approached by the Foundation to take the lead on this initiative.

Our involvement in the program encompassed every facet including research, design, development and implementation. We first began by looking at other models for AED placement programs across North America, taking what we found to be the most successful elements of each, and testing those ideas with resuscitation experts. We also hosted a national roundtable that brought together resuscitation leaders from across Canada to provide their input and talk about their own AED programs.

From all this knowledge we distilled down a model that was unique to British Columbia, resulting in a program that would place donated AEDs in publicly accessible venues where large numbers of people gather, such as recreation centres, arenas, pools and libraries – places where there is the greatest chance an AED can save a life. 

Beyond simply providing the AEDs, we recognized that people are more likely to use the devices if they are familiar. So we partnered with the BC Ambulance Service to provide AED orientation and CPR training to all venues that would be receiving the donated AEDs. We also helped develop the first provincial registry, which provides the location of all registered AEDs and connects this information to 9-1-1 dispatchers. The registry also sends out courtesy email reminders for regular maintenance check and battery replacement for the devices. The three-year initiative will ultimately see 450 AEDs donated by the end of the program, with at least one AED placed in every municipality within the province.
  • Sharing Knowledge
    A National Roundtable in Ottawa brought together resuscitation experts from all across the country.