Last February, a 16-year-old boy was taking part in soccer training when he collapsed with cardiac arrest, but two quick-thinking teammates, who had just finished a CPR course, used a club defibrillator to bring the young player back to life.
In 2008, an East Fremantle resident’s heart stopped beating during an exercise class at Melville Recreation Centre, with the CPR-trained staff using the nearby defibrillator to save his life.
Fremantle Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson says it is such stories that make it very important for residents and visitors to not only be aware of defibrillator locations, but to know how to provide lifesaving measures to someone who might need it.
Mr Wilson said the City of Fremantle had two automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at the Fremantle Leisure Centre and Samson Recreation Centre, as well as others being located in a number of local clubs, including the Fremantle PCYC, Fremantle City Dockers Junior Football Club and the Fremantle Volunteers Sea Rescue Group.
‘The evidence shows that early access to defibrillation greatly improves the chance that a person will survive cardiac arrest,’ he said. ‘The growing number of AEDs accessible to first responders means that early defibrillation can be applied more often, saving more lives.
‘Of course we also have a major hospital in the middle of Fremantle, so the availability of defibrillators is quite good and it’s the awareness of their location and their CPR importance that we need to keep building.’
He said there was great potential for the community to combine lifesaving technology like that provided by the AEDs with the technology of a phone app like St John’s Resuscitate, which lists the location of all AEDs in the area, as well as listing CPR guidance for people to use in a first-aid situation.
‘The more people with an understanding of first aid through our community, the better we are placed to assist when harm occurs, especially in an emergency,’ he said. ‘What’s brilliant about the AED is that once you turn it on, the device provides clear instructions for its use.
‘The great thing about smart phone technology in this case is that it allows people to know the location of AEDs which, in turn, can enable a first responder to access early defibrillation for the benefit of a person suffering cardiac arrest.’ Visit www.stjohn.org.au/apps for the app.