The implementation of an effective “chain of survival” is a community-wide responsibility. Lifeguards and lifesavers should be part of this chain. Early access to the Emergency Medical System (EMS) should be facilitated, ensured and planned. Early delivery of Basic Life Support (BLS) skills when needed should be expected. All lifeguards and lifesavers should be trained and encouraged to provide these skills when needed.
The availability, placement and use of defibrillators within a community should be a community decision based on the principles of “chain of survival,” proximity and time to advanced life support, community priorities and training available to personnel.
Decisions about the availability, placement and use of defibrillators should always be made in conjunction with, and with the awareness and endorsement of, the community emergency service delivery system.
Within a community emergency service delivery system where lifeguards and lifesavers are intended to operate automated external defibrillators, they must receive training in the use of the machine as well as the associated issues related to outcomes, stress and grief.
The Lifesaving Society should participate in the development of training policies for the use of defibrillation in the non-medical setting by non-medical personnel. This training policy development should be done with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and our national affiliated training agencies.
The Lifesaving Society should encourage the establishment of research tools to gather data on incidence, outcomes and unique concerns in the application of defibrillation in the aquatic environment.
Since the mid 1980s many lifesaving standard-setting agencies have endorsed and promoted the consensus that a strong community wide "system" for emergency cardiac care improves outcomes. The system has been referred to as the "chain of survival" and involves four mutually dependent components: