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St John Ambulance QLD is raising awareness of the shocking absence of defibrillators on buses and trains after new research revealed 74% of people in QLD want Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) to be made mandatory on public transport help save lives in the event of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).


A Galaxy Research representative survey of 1000 adults showed that just one quarter (24%) of workplaces in QLD have an AED installed, with three quarters (75%) of employees have received no training in how to use one.


SCA can occur at any time, anywhere to any person of any age with little to no warning signs. Despite this, findings show that two thirds (66%) of people in QLD think that you are only most likely to suffer from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest if you are 50 or older.


Last year, Ellie Bayliss, 28, suffered an SCA on a train platform and was saved by an on-duty paramedic, an off-duty lifeguard and an old colleague who performed CPR for 4-7 minutes until an ambulance arrived. She says that installing AEDs on public transport and surrounding areas could improve survival outcomes for those who aren’t so lucky to be close to those with First Aid training.


“Currently, AEDs are not compulsory on buses, trains or in businesses. It’s particularly alarming for public transport areas that are frequented by thousands of Australians every day,” says Ellie.  


“Commuters of any age could suffer a Sudden Cardiac Arrest on a crowded carriage or waiting alone to catch the bus or train after a late night in the office, so it’s imperative that these areas are equipped with this life-saving equipment.”


Brisbane has the third largest proportion of residents at 10.5 percent catching public transport to work compared to other capital cities.

St John Ambulance (Qld) CEO, Alex Hutton, says having access to a quality defibrillator on public transport and first aid trained employees and drivers is the best way to ensure employees and passengers are safe in the event of a workplace emergency.


“People often say they are reluctant to administer CPR on someone, but it is those first few minutes after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest that can be the difference between life and death,” says Mr Hutton. “AEDs are a vital piece of emergency First Aid equipment and the only definitive First Aid treatment for cardiac arrest. There is less than 10% survival without an AED, compared with up to almost 70% with one.”


National Chief Executive Officer. Adjunct Professor John G Kelly AM, National CEO of the Heart Foundation, says that for every minute without CPR, the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest go down by 10 percent.

“That means that after 10 minutes without it, there is little chance of survival. Call an ambulance immediately if you find someone in this situation,” says Professor Kelly. “Defibrillators are very simple to use, and prompt users on how to use them. It’s worth having a go – you could save someone’s life.”


Professor Kelly says that while it can’t be controlled when and where an SCA strikes, there are simple steps that people can take to ensure lives are not at risk in the event of an emergency on the way to work.

“The Heart Foundation urges the use of more AEDs in public spaces such as on public transport and hope that it would lead to more lives being saved,” Professor Kelly says. “We encourage anyone to learn CPR as it will increase your confidence in performing it when it counts.”


St John QLD AEDs are built to US military specifications, allowing workplaces to arm their sites with the highest standard of life-saving technology in the event of an emergency. If you see someone in this situation, call triple zero for an ambulance immediately. Ambulance operators can talk you through how to administer CPR and use a defibrillator if one is available. 


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NOTES for Editors


About St John Ambulance Australia

Active in Australia for over 130 years, St John Ambulance Australia is a self-funding, charitable organisation active in all States and Territories, dedicated to helping people in sickness, distress, suffering or danger. Providing services to a broad scope of the community, St John Ambulance Australia is the country's leading supplier of first aid services and training.


About Sudden Cardiac Arrests

Sudden cardiac arrest is the largest cause of death in Australia and is far more lethal and unpredictable than a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart stops and thus causes a section of the heart muscle to begin to die; whereas a cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating.


The cost of being unprepared

Small businesses take a range of cost-effective precautions to minimise risk in the workplace and boost productivity. Let’s take a look at how defibrillators stack up against other workplace risk solutions:

  • Staff sickies cost $340 per day per person in lost productivity — solution: a $25 flu jab.
  • An IT system fail costs $670 per hour in lost productivity — solution: a $180 server back-up.
  • A false fire alarm costs $2000 — solution: a $50 smoke detector.
  • The cost of cardiac arrest without a defibrillator is insurmountable (with employers facing staff recovery, mental health, sick leave, and fatality) – solution:
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