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Man who suffered heart attack donates AED unit for downtown Summerland park

Device can increase chance of survival after heart attack
Al Klar, at left, donated an automated external defibrillator to the community of Summerland. With Klar are members of his family. To the right of the machine are Mayor Toni Boot, Mayor-elect Doug Holmes, bylaw officer Darren Krell, Coun. Richard Barkwill and Councillor-elect Janet Peake. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

A Summerland man who suffered a heart attack a little more than a year ago has donated a state-of-the-art automated external defibrillator (AED) device to the community.

The device, donated by Al Klar, is in Memorial Park, near the corner of Wharton Street and Kelly Avenue.

“This is my home. I’be been part of the community for 40 years,” Klar said. “This is the least I could do. In the future, if thing happen, this machine is available in this town.”

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On June 21, 2021, Klar suffered a heart attack that left him unconscious at his business, Range Rider Canopies.

Two Summerland bylaw officers, Dan Maja and Darren Krell, were nearby. They called 911 and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until an ambulance arrived. The ambulance had an AED machine and a single shock from this device resuscitated Klar.

The outside AED unit is the only one in the Okanagan Valley that is available in an outside location at all times. Other machines are in place inside buildings, including Summerland’s municipal hall, the Summerland Arena and the Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre, but those buildings are not always open.

“It is a critical lifesaving device,” said Summerland Mayor Toni Boot. “This generous donation will benefit our community greatly.”

According to St. John Ambulance, with the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and an AED unit, the chance of surviving a heart attack can reach 75 per cent. Without these measures, the patient is not likely to survive past 10 minutes.

The device is part of the St. John Ambulance Start Me Up Program. The location, in Memorial Park, was chosen because of its proximity to the downtown core and the new destination, and because of the many large scale community events which are held there.

The device can be used at any time and throughout the year. It is weatherproof and emits a loud alarm when opened.

The cost of this device is more than $10,000 installed.

In addition to the new AED unit, the community’s emergency health service have been increasing.

Summerland has two ambulances and, since late 2021, there are eight full-time permanent paramedics at the Summerland ambulance station.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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