Resuscitation Council supports workplace AEDs

15 March 2016

“The New Zealand Resuscitation Council strongly favours public access to defibrillation”, said Dr Richard Aickin, Chair of New Zealand Resuscitation Council. Aickin made the comment in response to the removal of Bunnings Dunedin store’s automated external defibrillator (AED), which was installed following a fundraiser by the store’s social club. The AED has recently been removed at Bunnings management’s request, citing company policy.

The New Zealand Resuscitation Council says that use of AEDs need not be restricted to trained personnel. Aickin noted that AEDs are designed to guide an untrained user to take the correct actions to save a life. “Modern AEDs are very safe and can be used anywhere. Anyone can use them”, said Aickin, adding that the rescuer need only turn on the AED and follow the prompts.

“In the event of cardiac arrest, a defibrillating shock may be the difference between life and death”, said Aickin. For every minute that a person in cardiac arrest does not receive a defibrillating shock, their chance of survival decreases by 10 percent.

The New Zealand Resuscitation Council also strongly recommends that people learn CPR and first aid. A person who has a cardiac arrest needs immediate CPR together with rapid application of an AED. They will have the best chance of survival if bystanders are able to take immediate action rather than awaiting the arrival of emergency services.

The New Zealand Resuscitation Council said that although Bunnings’s move to donate the Dunedin store AED to another organisation was laudable, the Council was concerned that the company’s policy may be based on an incorrect belief about the risks and benefits of public access to AEDs. The ideal is to have AEDs placed in as many locations as possible where they can be rapidly accessed by members of the public. Aickin said customers, staff, emergency response teams and the public having certainty that an AED was in a given location was valuable, since time is critical for survival. “Access to an AED can be a game-changer, even in communities that have rapid backup from emergency services”, added Aickin.

“We applaud communities who have taken it upon themselves to improve access to AEDs”, said Aickin. “We challenge all workplaces to consider whether they are equipped and ready should somebody collapse on their premises.”

For queries about this statement please email or phone Lachlan McKenzie, Manager, Communications and Services on +64 27 499 6692.