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Cardiac Arrests Surge to Record Highs – 3 Simple Ways You Can Help

St John Defibrillator

It's true, sudden cardiac arrest continues to be one of the leading causes of death in Australia, with more than 30,000 cases occurring across the nation each year. Sadly, the death rate still stands at over 90% - an incredibly high figure. 

The figures in Victoria alone speak for themselves. In the period between July 2019 and 30 June 2020, there were 6,761 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests attended - the most cases ever recorded. This was a 3.7% increase on the previous year. Of these cases the majority (76%) happened in private residences, which meant cardiac arrests were far more likely to be witnessed by a bystander than ever before.

With this in mind, the key to decreasing the out-of-hospital cardiac arrest death rate remains, as it always has, improving bystander assistance. This means more people providing immediate CPR and defibrillation to a patient suffering a cardiac arrest. These are both crucial steps in the chain of survival and will significantly increase the survival rates.  

Importantly, the only treatment for a heart in cardiac arrest (in ‘fibrillation’) is for it to be de-fibrillated, this gives the heart a chance to start beating correctly again. Performing immediate CPR does help to circulate blood so it can provide oxygen to the body, brain, and other organs to stay alive, but CPR alone will not be enough. A defibrillator must be applied to the patient.

You could wait for an ambulance to arrive to apply a defibrillator, however the average ambulance arrival time in Victoria is currently over 12 minutes for a Code 1 emergency. Our incredible paramedics do their very best, but not every location has an ambulance waiting around the corner. Without a defibrillator arriving in the first 10 minutes, even if you keep doing CPR, the chance of survival on CPR alone is minimal.



An important highlight from the 2019/20 Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry Report is the fact that survival was significantly higher (56%) when shocked first by a public AED, compared to when shocked by paramedics (30%). Every minute counts and this finding shows how powerful early defibrillation can be for the patient.

Ian Muir is one of the lucky people who received immediate bystander assistance when he suffered a cardiac arrest in late November 2019 outside Breakwater Athletics. The 68-year-year-old grandfather was completing a warm-down walk after a run when he collapsed from a sudden cardiac arrest. When Ian suddenly stumbled outside Breakwater Athletics, Daniel's First Aid Training kicked into gear as he performed vital CPR to help save Ian's life. Meanwhile, Triple-Zero was called immediately and a nearby responder was activated by GoodSAM to arrive with a defibrillator to shock Ian. Ian Muir would not be alive today if gym owner and first responder Daniel Tinitali had not followed the basic tenets of first aid.

At St John, we’ve made it our ambitious endeavour for 50% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients to receive defibrillation by 2023. We can only achieve this if more defibrillators are available in the community. Every workplace, every sporting club and every public place should have a defibrillator nearby, and it should be registered so that Triple Zero operators can locate it in an emergency and direct a nearby GoodSAM Responder to bring it to the patient.

This is why we have launched something very special – a brand new range of defibrillators that are the best you can find. We rely on our defibrillators at events, for patients in ambulances and in emergencies, so we had a tough checklist of our own.

These are just a few of the features our new range of defibrillators has on offer, most of these are not seen on any other models in the market. We stand by our defibrillators being simple, effective and ready to help you save lives. Find out more about our new St John defibrillators here.

When it comes to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, every minute counts. There is no doubt Victoria’s cardiac arrest response times are improving year on year, however, we must continue to increase the number of bystanders willing and able to respond. To do this we need your help.

Here are 3 ways you can help

  1. Learn CPR – This will provide with the confidence and skill to act in an emergency.
  2. Get a defibrillator – The more devices there are in the community, the greater chance one will be easily accessible in an emergency, no matter where you are.
  3. Register the defibrillator – By registering the defibrillator with Ambulance Victoria, it means in the event of a cardiac arrest, a GoodSAM responder will be notified of its whereabouts and they will be directed by Triple Zero operators to bring this to the patient.

With more defibrillators in the community and more people adequately trained in first aid we can, together, return more people home to their loved ones.

St John G5 with Intellisense CPR
St John G5 with Intellisense CPR
The G5 is the only AED to combine real-time CPR feedback with user-paced rescue prompting.
RRP $2,450.00
St John first aid training


Learn the skills to perform life-saving (CPR) on an adult, child or infant who is unconscious and not breathing normally. 


Suitable for both people in workplaces and members of the public who would like a comprehensive first aid course.


St John has a range of​ training locations across Victoria.