Early access to defibrillation (an electric shock to the heart) can be a life saving measure in the event of a person suffering a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). To have the absolute best chance of survival, defibrillation must be carried out in the first few minutes after a person suffers a SCA.
Project HeartStart Australia
Project HeartStart Australia (PHSA) commenced by St John Ambulance Australia (SJAA) in 2004 is a community based publicly accessible defibrillation project. The project is ultimately about saving lives by placing automated external defibrillators (AED’s) into the public domain, whereby reducing the annual approximate 30,000 mortality rate from out of hospital SCA’s. PHSA has saved nineteen lives to date, with more expected over the life of the units.
To ensure Australia maintains world’s best practice, PHSA has broadened into a program available to the greater community inviting ALL purchased Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to be placed onto the iPhone app Resuscitate. Along with ready access to the DRSABCD action plan, the Resuscitate App makes it easier to find publicly accessible defibrillators using the built-in Google Maps function. This strategy reduces the time to defibrillation; where available across ambulance service jurisdictions the exact AED location is loaded onto the 000 call centre’s computer aided dispatch system, so when a 000 call is made by a bystander, the 000 dispatcher can immediately provide the caller with the precise location of the closest AED.
Evaluation Report, by the Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing
In May 2008, the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing engaged Melbourne based Campbell Research & Consulting to undertake an evaluation of the project. The evaluation report has now been released and is available from the Department of Health and Ageing website.
The objective of the evaluation was to consider the effectiveness of the trial implementation, identify issues that arose during the trial and lessons that may be relevant to any future possible considerations regarding PAD. St John Ambulance Australia (SJAA) was found to be well suited to conduct the project with stakeholders reporting a high level of professionalism and commitment. SJAA has demonstrated that, with appropriate training, installation of AEDs results in a sustainable benefit.
- Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Frequently Asked Questions
- Project HeartStart Australia Public Access Defibrillator Locations on GoogleTM Maps Australia:
St John Ambulance Victoria launched a local HeartStart program in early 2012. Further details may be found at http://www.defibssavelives.com.au/ .