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Australia: Defibrillator demand in Victoria increases as cardiac arrests skyrocket

South Australia passes bill requiring AED installation

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December 14, 2022


08:59 AM

Australia: Defibrillator demand in Victoria increases as cardiac arrests skyrocket

St. John Ambulance Victoria is petitioning the government to fund more defibrillators as the state sees a spike in cardiac arrests. 

The emergency response organization said about 80% of cardiac arrests happen in the home and is pushing forth a program named “Defib in Your Street” to address the problem. The initiative aims to install an automated external defibrillator (AED) within 400 meters (one-quarter mile) of every home and train local community members in using the devices.‍

“A year ago we put a request to the Victorian Government to help fund this program as part of a broader investment proposal, St John Ambulance Victoria CEO Gordon Botwright said last month, according to the Herald Sun

“We have had some conversations, but no funding has come through so far.” 

The request comes as Victoria’s neighboring state of South Australia passed a bill last month to require an AED in buildings “used for commercial purposes.” These include all public buildings, schools, retirement villages, residential living care facilities, theaters, casinos, parks, police stations, and other establishments. Trains, trams, public buses and other “prescribed vehicles” are also enjoined to install defibrillators. 

Woolworths, Australia’s national supermarket chain, announced last month an initiative to install 500 defibrillators in branches across the country by the end of June 2023, according to Channel 7. 

"The numbers are troubling," said Woolworths Managing Director Claire Peters. "As a business with a presence in more than a thousand communities across the country, we want to do our bit to help save lives." 

Earlier this year, Australia’s Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said no one can explain why there was a sudden surge in emergency code-one calls which, according to state records, had jumped 40%.   

“But it is really interesting,” D’Ath told reporters in April. “Yeah, I don’t think anyone can explain why we saw a 40% jump in code-ones. And I’ve- I’ve seen that as I’ve traveled around the state sometimes. I walk into an ambulance service and they’ll say, ‘We had a 30% increase in code-ones yesterday. Can’t tell you why. We just had a lot of heart attacks and chest pains and trouble, you know, breathing and respiratory issues.’ Sometimes you can’t explain why those things happen.” 


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