The chances of surviving a cardiac arrest have been boosted for communities on opposite sides of Rotorua with the installation of new automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
The life-saving devices, presented by St John and its partner ASB to the Mokoia Community Association and Harvest Centre are two of 28 AEDs donated by ASB and Philips to support efforts by St John to improve cardiac arrest survival rates in New Zealand.
St John's Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) registry, released today, reveals that last year St John Ambulance treated over 2000 people for a cardiac arrest in the community, with only 31 per cent of those surviving to hospital arrival.
This survival rate is now the lowest against the five emergency services St John benchmarks against and St John clinical director Dr Tony Smith said more work and resources were needed to save more lives.
Mokoia Community Association general manager Ray Adlam said the AED was something they had felt the need for.
"We are extremely pleased to receive this AED," he said.
"We hold a number of events for aged and high risk members of our community and we also have a lot of interaction with people experiencing stress.
"Although we are not aware of any recent emergencies, we are fully aware that this is always a risk factor in our community.
"Having access to an AED is extremely important to our community, as it gives us the ability to respond quickly in a cardiac event when every moment counts. The fact that it also provides step by step instructions gives our team the confidence that it is being used correctly."
Harvest Centre administrator and hosting assistant Fiona Rayner said they were grateful for the gift.
"We really appreciate the device that has been donated to us," she said.
"It is easy to use and comes with voice instructions. We are now better prepared in the event of a cardiac event."
Findings from the OHCA report also show Māori and Pasifika are more likely to have a cardiac arrest and less likely to survive.
St John is committed to improving survival rates by installing AEDs in public locations around New Zealand, like marae, schools, businesses and sports grounds, as well as delivering the 3 Steps for Life programme, to teach people how to perform CPR and use an AED.
"Research has revealed that every minute that goes by without CPR or defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by 10 to 15 per cent, with only about 13 per cent surviving a cardiac arrest," St John lakes territory manager George Clicquot said.
"We know that this survival rate can be doubled by people taking three easy steps; calling 111 for an ambulance, starting CPR immediately and using the nearest AED.
"Having an AED accessible in a location where many people frequent, means lives can be
ASB head of community and sponsorship Mark Graham said ASB had been supporting St John to get AEDs into more communities, to help increase the chances of survival during a cardiac arrest.
"We have AEDs in all of our branches and have had to use them a number of times, so we
know how critical they can be in an emergency when every minute counts. Having this AED will hopefully make a big difference when it's needed most."
St John's clinical research shows more AEDs are needed in remote and socio- economically deprived communities – something ASB is committed to helping with.