Shocking plea to kiwis

Elliot Steel |

Only 1 in 10 New Zealander’s survive cardiac arrest, a statistic that emergency services say can be dramatically improved with bystander CPR and a shock from an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

St John Medical Director, Dr Tony Smith, says St John is marking Restart a Heart Day on 16 October with emergency service colleagues by educating the public on CPR and AEDs to improve New Zealanders chances of surviving cardiac arrest.

“Early intervention with CPR combined with defibrillation can more than double someone’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest. By increasing the numbers of trained members of the public and access to AEDs we can better the odds for the more than 2000 Kiwis who suffer from a cardiac arrest each year.

“As well as brushing up on your CPR know-how, the theme of this year’s Restart a Heart Day encourages people to know where their nearest AEDs are located. We encourage schools, workplaces and partners to participate in Restart a Heart Day by visiting Restart-A-Heart and making a plan to save a life.

St John also wants New Zealanders to take part in the AED awareness social media campaign by submitting photos of public access AEDs they encounter while out and about in public to social media alongside the hashtag #RestartAHeart.

Dr Smith says finding our nearest AED is made easy by becoming a CPR trained and registered GoodSAM responder.

“Anyone over 18 who knows how to perform CPR can visit our page stjohn.org.nz/goodSAM to register and download the GoodSAM Responder App, so that they can be alerted that a person nearby is in cardiac arrest and needs help. If you accept a call for help, you are immediately shown a map of where the patient is and where the nearby AEDs are located. Since launching in April 2018, over 4000 Kiwis have signed up, and we’ve already seen lives saved as a result,” Dr Smith says.

In addition to a social media campaign, St John is hosting public training sessions in Auckland, Gisborne and Christchurch including CPR competitions and giveaways.

Initiated by the European Resuscitation Council, this is the second year of Restart a Heart Day in New Zealand, supported by St John, Wellington Free Ambulance, Fire & Emergency New Zealand, Police, New Zealand Defence Force, Heart Foundation, New Zealand Resuscitation Council and Ambulance New Zealand.

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