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St John Ambulance NSW puts wheels in motion to save lives on public transport

November 21, 2017 Charity No Comments Email Email

StJohn Ambulance NSW is raising awareness of the shocking absence of defibrillators on buses and trains after new research revealed 77% of people in NSW want Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) to be made mandatory on public transport help save lives in the event of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

A Galaxy Research representative survey of 1000 adults showed that just one in five (20%) of workplaces in NSW have an AED installed, with two thirds (73%) of employees having received no training in how to use one.

SCA can occur at any time, anywhere to any person of any age with little to no warning signs. Despite this, findings show that over half (58%) ofpeople in NSW think that you are only most likely to suffer from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest if you are 50 or older.

Last year, Ellie Bayliss, 28, suffered an SCA on a train platform and was saved by an on-duty paramedic, an off-duty lifeguard and an old colleague who performed CPR for 4-7 minutes until an ambulance arrived. She says that installing AEDs on public transport and surrounding areas could improve survival outcomes for those who aren’t so lucky to be close to those with First Aid training.

“Currently, AEDs are not compulsory on buses, trains or in businesses. It’s particularly alarming for public transport areas that are frequented by thousands of Australians every day,” says Ellie.

“Commuters of any age could suffer a Sudden Cardiac Arrest on a crowded carriage or waiting alone to catch the bus or train after a late night in the office, so it’s imperative that these areas are equipped with this life-saving equipment.”

Across the nation, Sydney sees the most locals catching public transport to work with approximately 20 percent of residents catching trains, buses, trams or ferries daily.

St John Ambulance National CEO, Len Fiori, says having access to a quality defibrillator on public transport and first aid trained employees and drivers is the best way to ensure employees and passengers are safe in the event of a workplace emergency.

“People often say they are reluctant to administer CPR on someone,but it is those first few minutes after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest that can be the difference between life and death,” says Mr Fiori. “AEDs are a vital piece of emergency First Aid equipment and the only definitive First Aid treatment for cardiac arrest. There is less than 10% survival without an AED, compared with up to almost 70% with one.”

National Chief Executive Officer. Adjunct Professor John G Kelly AM, National CEO of the Heart Foundation,says that for every minute without CPR, the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest go down by 10 percent.

“That means that after 10 minutes without it, there is little chance of survival. Call an ambulance immediately if you find someone in this situation,” says Professor Kelly. “Defibrillators are very simple to use, and prompt users on how to use them. It’s worth having a go – you could save someone’s life.”

Professor Kelly says that while it can’t be controlled when and where an SCA strikes, there are simple steps that people can take to ensure lives are not at risk in the event of an emergency on the way to work.

“The Heart Foundation urges the use of more AEDs in public spaces such as on public transport and hope that it would lead to more lives being saved,” Professor Kelly says. “We encourage anyone to learn CPR as it will increase your confidence in performing it when it counts.”

St John NSW AEDs are built to US military specifications, allowing workplaces to arm their sites with the highest standard of life-saving technology in the event of an emergency. If you see someone in this situation, call triple zero for an ambulance immediately. Ambulance operators can talk you through how to administer CPR and use a defibrillator if one is available.

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