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B.C. commits $1-million for 750 new defibrillators

Amy Sancetta/The Associated Press

The B.C. government is spending an extra $1-million to place up to 750 defibrillators in parks, arenas and recreation centres across British Columbia in an attempt to save more lives.

Health Minister Terry Lake says up to 2,000 British Columbians die each year from sudden cardiac arrest, but statistics reveal 75 per cent of those people could be saved if they receive prompt access to CPR or a jolt from a defibrillator, which often restarts the heart.

Lake says cardiac arrests can happen at any place and any time, and he knows this from experience, witnessing a friend go down with a heart attack on the soccer pitch three years ago, only to have him revived by somebody using a nearby defibrillator.

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Lake says he now sees the friend at the same soccer pitch in his Kamloops riding.

There are currently 175 external defibrillators in 82 B.C. communities.

Lake says the government already contributes $1-million to the defibrillator program, which will also include $2-million in matching funds from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

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