Three steps can make the difference between life and death for someone in cardiac arrest.

That’s the message behind this year’s annual Restart a Heart Day (16 October) – a global initiative aimed at highlighting the importance of taking immediate action when someone goes into cardiac arrest.

Last year, St John Ambulance treated over 2,000 people for a cardiac arrest out in the community, with only 31% of those surviving to hospital arrival and only 13% leaving hospital alive.

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, regardless of age or medical history and it continues to be New Zealand’s biggest silent killer, with ischaemic heart disease one of the main causes of death in Aotearoa each year.

St John Clinical Director Dr Tony Smith says a person’s survival rate drops by 10-15 percent for every minute without CPR or defibrillation – but their chances dramatically improve the sooner CPR begins.

“St John wants everyone to have the confidence to perform the three steps that can double a person’s chance of survival: call 111 for an ambulance, start CPR and use an AED (automated external defibrillator). Using an AED is simpler than using a mobile phone. Anyone can do it, just turn it on and follow the voice instructions.

“Last year, St John trained more than 67,000 people in CPR and how to use an AED. If you want to learn these skills you can sign up for a free programme called 3 Steps for Life and if you already know CPR and how to use an AED, you can become a GoodSAM responder and be alerted to cardiac arrests in your community, so you can provide help before emergency services arrive,” says Dr Smith.

New Zealand has more than 6,000 people registered as GoodSAM responders and the number of AEDs in the community is growing, with more than 5,500 registered throughout the country. That number has been bolstered at a number of marae across New Zealand too, with gifts of AEDS into vulnerable communities by ASB with the support of Phillips and St John. In addition, all ASB branches have AEDs.

To find out more about Restart a Heart Day, visit Restart a Heart.



Watch a video demonstration of how to perform CPR and how to use an AED. 

Learn the 3 Steps for Life. 

Register for the GoodSAM app if you are trained in first aid and CPR. 

Download the free St John mobile CPR app for instructions on how to do CPR. 

Learn how to locate the nearest public AED at or download the AED Locations app. 

Participate in the #9for9 challenge on social media to raise awareness about the seriousness of cardiac arrest and remember the nine out of 10 people who don’t survive.  


Amy Milne

St John Integrated Communications Advisor

M 027 502 7523


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