Winnipeg's Bear Clan to carry a new life-saving device

The Bear Clan will soon be patrolling Winnipeg streets with a new life saving device.

Patrol will be equipped with defibrillator by Paramedic Association of Canada

Bear Clan Patrol volunteers in Winnipeg's North End in November. The Bear Clan will soon have a defibrillator to take along on patrol. (The Canadian Press)

The Bear Clan Patrol will soon be on Winnipeg streets with a new life-saving device.

The Paramedic Association of Canada will present the Bear Clan with an automated external defibrillator on Friday.

"We're very excited," Bear Clan founder James Favel told CBC News. "We hope never to have to use it, quite frankly. But should the occasion arise, we are going to be prepared."

Earlier this week, paramedics joined forces with members of the Bear Clan Patrol to teach them first aid and how to use an defibrillator.  

Denied use of defibrillator

At the session, one Bear Clan member mentioned a situation he ran into a few years ago when he needed the device, Favel said. 

Favel said a man was found unresponsive and the member ran to a nearby business to get a defibrillator. But the business wouldn't allow it to be taken off of the premises because of the cost of the device.

After learning this, Winnipeg paramedics planned to raise money to purchase the device, Favel said.

But when Paramedic Association of Canada chief administrative officer Dwayne Forsman got wind of this, he reached out to the association's supplier, Zoll Canada, and they decided to donate the device instead. 

Forsman said the Bear Clan does important work, and being able to provide first aid and defibrillation is more likely to save a life than waiting for an ambulance.

'They're going to make a difference'

"If we can have people that are on scene within moments with this kind of device, they're going to make a difference," Forsman said.

Favel said he's grateful for device and the support.

"A number of our members now are trained with first aid and that's fantastic. We have 67 of our people trained to use naloxone and now we have access to a defibrillator of our own," Favel said.

"We're really turning into the lifesavers out there, and that's huge."