LUCKY: Craig Flissinger says an AED saved his life when he suffered sudden cardiac arrest in Broadmeadow. He backs the St John Ambulance push to have them made uniformly more available across NSW. Picture: Max Mason-HubersUNIFORMLY fitting Hunter buses, trains and transit stops with automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) could save lives across the region, the general manager of St Johns Ambulance believes.
St John Ambulance general manager Gary Maclachlan said existing arrangements werea “mixed result” for where the life-saving devices could be found, a system that could potentially cost lives.
Mr Maclachlan said he had experienced the issue first-hand when a woman at a Mudgee farm suffered angina.“I knew how to use an AED, I knew how to do CPR but I couldn’t get access to one,” he said.“It’s actually terrible. You know if there was an AED, there’s a good chance you can save their life.”
St John Ambulance is lobbying the state government to make the devices standard issue on public transport, potentially including bus stops, to allow members of the public to immediately render aid.
Nulkaba’s Craig Flissinger said he would likely be dead if his cardiac arrest had struck anywhere but the Broadmeadow motorcycle training centre where he collapsed in 2014.
“I grabbed a drink and walked into the next room and I got a little bit dizzy and next thing I was on the floor,” he said.“There was no warning.”
Staff at the centre were using the AED within about three minutes, a speedy response Mr Flissinger credits with keeping him alive.
“If it had happened at home or down the street, they would have found me in a paddock or something,” he said. “It’s not like a heart attack or a stroke …You really can’t mess [using an AED]up. You turn it on and it tells you how to use it.”
A Galaxy Research survey of more than 1000 adults found 77 per cent support mandatory AEDs on public transport.Mr Maclachlan said the chances of survival drop roughly 10 per cent for each moment that passes without treatment, while an AED applied in the first 90 seconds improved that figure dramatically.
He cited 140 drownings across the Hunter in the past decade, compared to ambulance response times that could be over 10 minutes, as an area where the devices could make a difference.
He pointed to bus stops along Newcastle beaches as an obvious point where the devices could be stored clearly, awaiting emergency use.“You might find some shopping centres have them, you might find them at a train station but not all train stations,” he said.“If something happens, you have got to wait until the train pulls up at the station.
“The further away you are from an ambulance, the more important it becomes.”
Mr Maclachlan said the costs of an AED rollout would be significantly cheaper than rehabilitation treatments.