Australians will soon have access to defibrillators in all Woolworths stores across the country in the event of sudden cardiac arrest.
The supermarket has installed its first Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in Sydney and is set to have 500 stores completed by the end of June.
Woolworths stores in rural and regional communities, such as Benalla, or areas where it may be hard to access a medical site, will be the first priority to have the defibrillators installed.
All Woolworths stores have a first-aid responder who will be trained in operating the AED.
The AED is also designed to be used by anyone, with clear step-by-step voice instructions that can guide members of the public through the process.
The Heart Foundation warmly welcomes the initiative to put AEDs in all Woolworths stores and to train its team members in how to use them.
Heart Foundation’s Group chief executive officer Adjunct Professor John Kelly said there were more than 15000 cardiac arrests each year in Australia, killing about 10000 people.
‘‘During a cardiac arrest, the heart stops. Symptoms include sudden collapse and loss of consciousness and or abnormal breathing,’’ Professor Kelly said.
‘‘We know that for every minute without CPR or treatment with an AED to restart the heart, your chances of surviving a cardiac arrest go down by 10per cent.
‘‘After 10 minutes without it, there is little chance of survival at all.
‘‘For people who have a cardiac arrest outside hospital, the survival rate is only 10 per cent.
‘‘The Heart Foundation strongly encourages the placement of AEDs in all spaces where people gather in any numbers, and the training of people to use the defibrillators.
‘‘We welcome this community-minded action by Woolworths.’’