Sudden cardiac arrest is a silent killer: it can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time or age.
It kills between 23,000 and 33,000 Australians each year, more than breast cancer, shootings and road crashes combined.
That’s about two busloads of people dying every day.
In a conventional heart attack, the victim is likely to be conscious, though in pain.
A cardiac arrest – also known as a ‘massive heart attack’ – involves an interruption to the heart’s electrical system.
It causes unconsciousness and a lack of breathing and pulse.
However, a cardiac arrest is treatable if defibrillation is done in time.
Dr Donald Dingsdag is a senior lecturer in Occupational Health and Safety at the University of Western Sydney and a director of the Cardiac Arrest Survival Foundation.
He believes that having the equipment onsite is hugely important.
‘Every minute wasted means there is less chance of survival … once you get past the nine minute time elapsed, that person will almost certainly die.
‘Unfortunately, we can’t rely solely on the response time of ambulance services in such a situation.’