App to help with cardiac arrest

First aid: Gayle Bowers saves husband with CPR.

  • Mar. 23, 2016 9:00 a.m.

Living proof: Gayle Bowers helped save her husband Jack’s life with hands-only CPR after his heart stopped.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is launching a new app it believes will help save more lives for those who experience sudden cardiac arrest.

In B.C., only 14 per cent of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest each year survive.

Sudden cardiac arrest differs from a heart attack. With a heart attack there are warning signs and symptoms and it can often be treated at the hospital. Cardiac arrest however, is a failure of the heart’s electrical system. The heart suddenly stops beating and the person collapses.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation the new app aims to give people the information and training they need to respond and save lives. With a few simple clicks, the app teaches people how to do “hands-only” CPR, what an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is and where they are located. Then, it offers a quick and fun test and the ability to share what you’ve learned on social media.

Local businessman Jack Bowers is one of the fortunate survivors of sudden cardiac arrest. Nearly two years ago, Jack suffered cardiac arrest while home for lunch. Luckily his wife Gayle Bowers was home and she quickly called 911. She then performed 12 minutes of hands-only CPR. With the help of the 911 Operator, Gayle – who had never had any first aid training, was instrumental in saving her husband’s life.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation says sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone at any time, and in many cases, it occurs in public spaces. Early CPR and the use of AEDs within the first few minutes can double the chance of survival.

Thanks to Gayle’s quick response, along with the work of emergency responders, Jack was given a second chance at life.

A former paramedic and athlete, Jack is a strong advocate for people learning hands-only CPR.

“If Gayle hadn’t been so capable, who knows what it would’ve been,” Jack says.

With this app, people will understand how three simple, easy steps can save lives. The three steps are: Call 911 and shout for an AED, push hard and fast in the centre of the chest, restart the heart by using an AED as soon as it arrives.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation hopes the new app will motivate people to act fast and save lives. You can check out the app at


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