Mayor Tory declares February 14 'Safe City Day' in Toronto

February 14, 2018

Mayor John Tory today declared February 14, 2018 as Toronto's first annual Safe City Day. Recognizing Safe City Day highlights the importance of bystanders' role assisting people in heart-related medical emergencies, especially cardiac arrest.

"February is Heart Month, and what better day to declare a day of reflecting on the heart than February 14," said Mayor Tory. "When I realized how many people could be saved in Toronto if bystanders stepped up quickly to help in a medical emergency, I knew we should draw more attention to learning CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators."

"Toronto Paramedic Services' Safe City program trains residents in first aid, CPR and how to use an AED," said Toronto Paramedic Services Chief Gord McEachen. "There are approximately 2,000 sudden cardiac arrests every year in the city of Toronto, most of them in public places, where early CPR intervention from a bystander can make a difference in saving someone's life. You are the strongest link to helping to save someone's life after they suffer a sudden cardiac arrest."

"Thanks to my friends Bayete, David and Gerald, who started CPR and used the AED on me when I suffered my cardiac arrest on November 23, 2017, I am standing here today celebrating with all of you," said John Turco, a cardiac arrest survivor.

Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. today, members of the public, City Council members and City staff had an opportunity to try CPR and become familiar with using an automated external defibrillator (AED).

Toronto was declared a Safe City by City Council in 1998. Since that time, Toronto Paramedic Services has grown the related Safe City program to the extent that it now trains about 7,500 people annually in first aid, CPR and AED use. In addition, Toronto Paramedic Services maintains more than 1,500 public access defibrillators in public places across the city, including TTC subway stations, community centres, swimming pools, skating rinks and some schools.

Anyone can help paramedics save a life if they follow this advice when encountering an apparent cardiac-arrest emergency:

- Call 911 and get an AED or send someone to get an AED.

- Start CPR.

- Activate the AED as soon as possible and follow the voice prompts.

- Continue CPR until paramedics arrive, and continue to follow AED prompts.

Interested in taking a course? Toronto Paramedic Services Safe City instructors present courses at locations across the city, with registration available at

This news release is also available on the City's website at

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at or on Facebook at

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Media contact: Kim McKinnon, Toronto Paramedic Services, 416-392-2255, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.