CARDIAC arrests are the leading cause of death nationally while 56 deaths were caused by fire and smoke in 2013, Anne Holland told AAP.
Ms Holland, whose husband Paul died in 2008 after having a cardiac arrest at home, trains people to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
The Melbourne registered nurse and mother of five children, has just written a book called Back in a Heart Beat, with the proceeds to go to the not-for-profit Urban Lifesavers.
It’s been set up to educate the community about sudden cardiac arrest and how early defibrillation by bystanders saves lives. “Every year in Australia there’s 33,000 cardiac arrests, 75 per cent outside a hospital,” she said. “If you can defibrillate someone within five minutes, your chances of reviving them are over 80 per cent but without (defibrillating) it’s five per cent.” She said it was 590 times more likely that a member of the public will have to deal with a cardiac arrest than with a fire fatality.
“Fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and evacuation plans are mandated by law, and the equipment must be tagged and tested every six months.” But there were no laws to mandate AED accessibility and they were not required to be part of first aid kits, although first aid training required people to be competent in using them.
“But workplaces are not required to provide that actual piece of equipment that allows them to perform that skill.” While she says AEDs should be “everywhere”, Ms Holland is first focusing on getting them in workplaces. “I don’t want other families to have to live through what we had to live through simply because a machine was not available.”
The Australian 24 September 2015 Written by Margaret Scheikowski