Vancouver, Singapore, Sunderland… get it right – can we follow suit?
A few weeks ago, Vancouver City Council passed a motion directing staff ‘to report back on opportunities to install automated Publicly Accessible Defibrillators (PADs) equipped with naloxone and first aid kits, in locations throughout Vancouver’.
The Council recognised that ‘in the event of sudden cardiac arrest, bystander use of an automated external defibrillator (AED), along with CPR, is crucial and increases the chance of survival to 75% or higher’.
Only two months ago, freshly minted NSW Treasurer, Matt Kean, just hours after he was sworn into his role at Government House, called triple zero and administered CPR to a man who collapsed in Sydney’s CBD.
While paramedics arrived within 10 minutes of the call, not everyone is so lucky as ambulances may often take longer to arrive – perhaps too late for the victim of a sudden cardiac arrest.
NSW Ambulance Inspector Kay Armstrong praised the bystanders for their efforts, noting early and effective CPR “can be the difference between life and death in some situations”.
“The bystanders who assisted this patient yesterday should be commended for taking action until paramedics arrived,” she said.
HOWEVER, what played a crucial role in saving the victims life was when Seven News Sydney assistant chief of staff, Glenn Miller, ran out of the building with an automated defibrillator and commenced using it.
Armstrong noted: “You never know when you might need to perform CPR on someone – it could be a friend or family member or, like yesterday, someone you are passing in the street who needs your help.”
Vancouver City Council is doing something tangible about making defibrillators accessible to the public – and saving lives.
Deploying affordable, intuitive-to-use defibrillators is something that our public, private and community sector organisations should do voluntarily AND what our State, Territory and Local governments should consider ‘encouraging’ or mandating.
Consider this: there is, say, a 100 times greater chance of succumbing to a sudden cardiac arrest (Australia’s Number One killer) than dying in a fire – yet fire equipment is mandatory in all buildings while defibrillators are not!?
Defibrillators can be required as part of public benefit amenities on new developments; at government/council facilities and/or appropriate public spaces; and in partnerships at key locations for entertainment, transit, and public gathering.
It’s time we borrowed a page from other cities worldwide, such as Vancouver, Singapore (which last week announced a rollout of automated external defibrillators to 20 locales), and the City of Sunderland, UK, which announced midNovember that its plan to roll out potentially ‘lifesaving’ defibrillators across the city has been backed by the Council with hopes of saving more lives in emergency situations’.
C’mon Australia – this is a no-brainer…