Bystanders can be the difference between life or death when someone goes into cardiac arrest.

Friday 16 October is Restart a Heart Day, which raises awareness of the importance of taking immediate action if someone goes into cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, regardless of age or medical history and St John wants everyone to have the confidence to perform the three steps that can save a life: call 111 for an ambulance, start CPR and use an AED (automated external defibrillator).

Only approximately 15% of people survive a cardiac arrest in the community but taking these three steps can double that.

Earlier this year St John published its Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Report revealing that in 76% of cardiac arrests bystanders perform CPR, but only use an AED 4% of the time.

St John Medical Director Dr Tony Smith says the report shows that while there is a growing awareness of the importance of getting CPR started, the use of AEDs and access to them in the community needs to increase.

“Using an AED is easy, and we want people to be comfortable to take action. The AED will tell you what to do so you don’t need any training to make a difference. If you can use a cell phone, you can use an AED.”

Dr Smith says that the simple act of using an AED increases survival rates by over 35%.

“The chain of survival starts with bystanders. Their actions can allow skilled ambulance officers and hospital clinicians to give patients the best possible chance of survival.”

The number of AEDs in the community is increasing and there are now over 5,000 registered AEDs throughout New Zealand. That number has recently been helped with gifts of AEDS into vulnerable communities by ASB with the support of Phillips. In addition, all ASB branches have AEDs.

You can register an AED on the AED locations website. Downloading the AED LOCATIONS NZ app means you can easily find out where the nearest AED is located should you need it.

St John also wants people who are confident in CPR and using an AED to register as a GoodSAM responder. The app alerts people that a patient suspected to be in cardiac arrest is nearby, allowing them to help save a life prior to emergency services arriving.


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