Automated External Defibrillator Awareness

October 1, 2022

‘Shocktober’ is an awareness campaign run during the month of October to highlight the importance of using Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to assist people in the community who experience a sudden cardiac arrest.

A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. It is a medical emergency and without immediate intervention, will lead to death, with an estimated 25,000 Australian lives lost every year.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable electronic device that diagnoses life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms that can cause a cardiac arrest. An AED can be used to treat abnormal heart rhythms by giving an electric shock to ‘restart’ the heart to its normal rhythm. This is known as defibrillation. AEDs are designed so non-medical people can use them in an emergency.

Access to early defibrillation increases the chance of survival for people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. An estimated 50-70% will survive if defibrillation occurs within the first 5 minutes. For every minute that passes, there is a 10% less chance of survival.

Automated External Defibrillator

AEDs are commonly placed in large public places, including:

  • hospitals
  • community centres
  • workplaces
  • schools
  • shopping and business centres
  • sporting clubs and gyms
  • public libraries.

Only a few months ago, one of our nurses was at a Bunnings BBQ when the man on the grill collapsed with a sudden cardiac arrest. Luckily our nurse was able to perform first aid, and with the assistance of staff, used the Bunnings AED to revive him. He was taken to hospital shortly afterwards where he made a full recovery.

If you are responding to a medical emergency and there is an AED nearby, please use it. You cannot do any harm by using an AED on someone who is unconscious and there are clear visual instructions and voice prompts. The AED will assess the cardiac rhythm and only give a shock if it is necessary.

Learn how to use an AED as part of First Aid training, or by watching this short St Johns Ambulance instruction video. Bulli Medical Practice has an AED and all our staff have undertaken training to use the AED as part of performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

For more information on performing CPR, visit Health Direct. For more information on first aid courses and AEDs visit St John’s Ambulance.