WHY having a Heart Safe Environment
Every year in Australia approximately 30,000 people suffer a sudden cardiac arrest away from a hospital, a figure derived from a few studies in a few Australian states, as no nation-wide data is collected. This lack of information is in itself is a problem when it comes to improving the care and survival of cardiac arrest victims: it is impossible to change that which we do not know or understand.
A sudden cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, any time: at a sporting event, at the beach, at work, at the airport, at home. In Australia, the overall survival rate from a cardiac arrest is less than 10%.
In Seattle, Washington, USA, intensive efforts have pushed the rate of survival after cardiac arrest to 62%.2 Seattle is a metropolitan area with similar characteristics to metropolitan Australia. Elsewhere in North America, system-wide programs have pushed survival rates into the region of 20-30%.
We believe it is feasible to target a survival rate of 50%, which translates into some 12,000 more Australian lives saved every year. This represents 12,000 devastating personal tragedies we can avoid. It also represents significant social and economic savings.
Does your workplace have a Public Access Defibrillator?
The first five minutes holds the key to survival. We need more people, of all ages, who are trained and willing to provide immediate cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). We need more, and easily accessible, defibrillators and more people prepared to use them. We need a coordinated healthcare system, designed to provide the type of care that increases the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest. Above all we need more citizens to be part of the solution. Increasing survival simply will not occur unless we empower the community to drive change from within.
When it comes to saving a life all the stars have to be aligned—and time is critical:
- Someone has to immediately recognise that a person has suffered a cardiac arrest and begin CPR
- Someone has to call the ambulance
- A defibrillator needs to be nearby and someone has to use it quickly
- An ambulance needs to arrive fast and take the patient to the right hospital, where the best post-arrest care is available