A P.E.I. doctor recommends more Prince Edward Islanders get CPR training so they can help when someone suffers a heart attack.

Dr. Des Colohan, P.E.I. chief coroner

In some North American jurisdictions more than half of adults have CPR training. (CBC)

Dr. Des Colohan, who is P.E.I.'s chief coroner but says he's commenting as a former emergency room physician, said one of the keys to surviving a heart attack is having someone on hand immediately who knows how to respond.

He said in some jurisdictions, such as Seattle, 60 per cent of the adult population has taken CPR training.

"Every married couple should think, 'If my partner collapses, do I know what to do and can I do it?' I think we all need to ask ourselves that," said Colohan.

"If I'm concerned about helping in my community, even if I don't have a partner, then that's certainly worthwhile."

Colohan also said making more defibrillators available on P.E.I. would improve the odds of survival after a heart attack.

The rural nature of P.E.I. makes surviving a heart attack in the province less likely, said Colohan, because ambulance response time is faster in cities. He said there's little chance of survival if help doesn't arrive within the first 10 minutes.