The City of Adelaide will be installing a further nine automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in the city and North Adelaide in addition to the 17 devices already in place and available for public use.
The ‘Saving a Life can be Shockingly Easy’ project was launched on Valentine’s Day 2017 in partnership with the SA Ambulance Service and the Heart Foundation to trial the availability and use of AEDs in key locations in the city.
An AED allows any member of the public to deliver a measured shock to a person experiencing a cardiac arrest to restart effective pumping of the heart and increase the person’s chance of survival.
By recognising the warning signs, calling triple zero and applying an AED as quickly as possible, the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest increase.
City of Adelaide Councillor Phillip Martin, who originally initiated the project, said that increasing the number of devices means there will now be an AED about every 500 metres throughout the city and North Adelaide.
“Sudden cardiac arrest is a significant public health issue. Unless there’s immediate bystander CPR or a shock applied from an AED, survival rates can be as low as 10 per cent.
“Automatic external defibrillators can dramatically increase survival rates when used in the first three to five minutes of cardiac arrest.
“A comprehensive report on the use of the AEDs in the first twelve months of the trial is being conducted by SA Ambulance Service and although the details won’t be available until the end of the year, we already know the project is working.
“There is evidence that the city AEDs have been taken to patients on multiple occasions and they’ve actually been used four times in the six months to February this year.
“And we know there has also been a measured increase in levels of public confidence in using a defibrillator.
“People shouldn’t be scared to use one as they come with verbal instructions and will only deliver an electric shock to the heart if necessary. If you see someone in trouble, be brave and give it a try. You could end up saving someone’s life.”
Since it started, the City of Adelaide’s ‘Shockingly Easy to Save a Life’ campaign has been replicated in similar initiatives across metropolitan centres.
Collectively across the State, these initiatives appear to be having a positive impact.
Nationally, only one in ten people survive cardiac arrest and only 30 per cent receive bystander CPR.
International statistics from the Council Ambulance Authorities show that with wider use of AEDS and CPR, survival rates can increase to up to 62 per cent.
Jason Killens, CEO of SA Ambulance Service, said, “There should be no doubt that the City of Adelaide is leading the way in metropolitan Adelaide in the installation of public access AEDs.
Alongside free community CPR training provided by SAAS Paramedics, the Council’s commitment to community health education will no doubt provide better health outcomes for members of the public.”
Ms Imelda Lynch, CEO Heart Foundation SA said, “The Heart Foundation is proud to be partnering with the City of Adelaide and SA Ambulance Service to improve access and awareness to AEDs in the city.
“Your chance of surviving a cardiac arrest will increase with people calling triple zero and applying an automated external defibrillator as quickly as possible,” said Ms Lynch.
“We hope more publicly accessible defibrillators will save lives in the city.
“Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart’s normal rhythm is disrupted, and its capacity to pump blood around the body is dramatically reduced or stopped. Cardiac arrest can be treated with CPR and early defibrillation, and calling triple zero for an ambulance.
“The publicly available defibrillators can be used by anyone as they guide the operator through the necessary actions, such as delivering an electric shock to the heart to help resume the heart’s normal rhythm.”
The locations for the new defibrillators include Melbourne Street, squares in the city and North Adelaide, the Riverbank next to the Festival Centre, near the Par 3 Golf café, and near the Velo Café in Victoria Park.
Two defibrillators are available 24 hours a day in Rundle Mall and Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga.
The City of Adelaide has defibrillators for use by staff at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre, in public access areas of the Town Hall, Central Market, Golf Links, Community Centres and Libraries.
To further increase access to AEDs, council staff will work with community and commercial organisations who lease buildings in the Park Lands to facilitate installation of defibrillators. To find out more, please go to adelaidecitycouncil.com/shockinglyeasy