About 25,000 Australians experience sudden cardiac arrest annually.
Sadly, only 5% of them will survive, yet if a bystander uses an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in the first three minutes after a collapse, that person’s survival rate jumps to 67%.
They are numbers Heart of the Nation CEO Greg Page is hoping will resonate within the community as he launches the Turn Me On, I’ll Tell You What To Do campaign.
The former yellow Wiggle suffered a life-threatening heart attack during a reunion show in 2020.
At the time, he was given CPR by a member of the audience, and it ended up saving his life.
This month, Page and the team at Heart of the Nation is on a mission to encourage more people to confidently use an AED, or “defib” to increase the lives of those who experience sudden cardiac arrest.
The organisation recently identified that AEDs are currently only used by community members in around 8% of cases before paramedics arrive.
Accessibility to an AED, and the confidence of a bystander to use one are the two key factors, they found.
“No medical or first aid training is required to quickly respond to someone in cardiac arrest where an AED is nearby,” says Greg.
“Early defibrillation by an AED can increase survival rates drastically while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
“When someone collapses due to a cardiac arrest (unconscious and not breathing normally), they rely upon community members to act rapidly, while waiting for paramedics to arrive to help save their life.
“An AED becomes the team leader, talking to responders and telling them exactly what they can do to give that person the best chance of surviving.”
The Turn Me On, I’ll Tell You What To Do campaign is designed to increase bystander confidence and willingness to use an AED when someone is not responding and not breathing normally.
“It is crucial that people understand that when it comes to sudden cardiac arrest, any attempt at resuscitation is better than none, and the role an AED plays is vital to giving the patient the best chance of surviving,” continues Greg.
Head of Education and Training with Heart of the Nation Kevin McSweeney agreed.
“As a paramedic with over 25 years’ experience, I turn up to cardiac arrests, and see people doing CPR, which is great,” he said.
“But, we also notice a lot of the time there may be an AED nearby and no one has noticed or they have not had the confidence to use it.
“The difference an AED can make to saving a life is staggering, time is critical in a sudden cardiac arrest episode and all that is required from an AED is that you turn it on.”
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