Shocking Truth: Defibrillator legislation is essential for cardiac arrest survival

Shocking Truth: Defibrillator legislation is essential for cardiac arrest survival

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Anne Holland started this petition to Daniel Andrews (Premier of Victoria) and

Don’t let sudden cardiac arrest claim a member of your family when it is so easily treated and a life restored.


To the Australian State & Territory governments and Work Safe authorities, we ask that OH&S & WHS legislation be amended to include automated external defibrillators in first aid kits in the workplace and public spaces.

A sudden cardiac arrest is:

  • over 550 times more likely to occur than a fire related fatality.
  • 28 times more likely to occur than a road trauma death.
  • 3 times more likely to occur than death caused by the four major cancers combined

Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading causing of death and No 1 public health problem (Dr Tony Scott (NZ National Cardiac Arrest Awareness Network, 2016 joint Australian & New Zealand Resuscitation Councils conference in Auckland).

Thousands of preventable Australian deaths are occurring each year due to the lack of access to a nearby automated external defibrillator(AED). The only solution to address poor survival rates is the development of a systemic approach to public education and accessibility of AEDs.

This petition implores State & Territory governments to commit as much attention and funding to cardiac arrest survival as is directed to the road toll and fire safety.

Millions of dollars are spent on reducing the road toll - Australia led the world with the introduction of seat belts and speed detection cameras resulting in a dramatic reduction in road deaths over four decades. 

Fire safety equipment is mandated by law along with regular testing and tagging maintenance.  Deaths caused by fire or smoke are low risk in Australia due to these preventative measures.

The time is now: AEDs need to be key inclusions in first aid kits and become as commonplace as fire extinguishers.

The only way to achieve that outcome is to raise awareness, educate the public and provide accessible AEDs in the community and workplace.

AEDs in the workplace

In Australia, it is now mandatory that anyone participating in first aid training must be assessed as being competent in the application of an AED. (Australian Health Training package, HLTAID001, 1 July 2015 in accordance with Australian Resuscitation Council guidelines)

It is not however compulsory that an AED be provided in a first aid kit.

The situation now exists that employers are training their staff to provide a lifesaving skill for which they are not required to provide the device that actually enables the trained staff to perform that skill.

There is an obligation to provide a 'Duty of Care' and ensure optimal safety.

State & Territory governments are responsible for Occupational Health & Safety/Work Health Safety legislation and it is time that the law caught up with this lifesaving technology.

The facts about sudden cardiac arrest (SCA):

  • SCA is fatal but is reversible if early CPR & early defibrillation is available to the casualty
  • SCA can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere, at any age
  • SCA is not a heart attack (although it can be caused by heart attack)
  • SCA is the leading cause of death in the developed world

The facts about automated external defibrillators (AED):

  • An AED is simple and easy to use
  • An AED is automated – will not shock indiscriminately – an AED must first detect a heart rhythm before advising if a shock is required
  • An AED will only shock someone who is in a life-threatening heart rhythm
  • An AED will not shock someone who has a normal heart rhythm
  • SCA survival is directly related to the time delay in receiving defibrillation i.e. early defibrillation increases chance of survival

Successful public access defibrillation program in Seattle, USA

In King County, Seattle USA, survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest has increased from 13% (1970) to 62% as a result of public access defibrillation programs.

Similar public education programs in Australia will prevent thousands of avoidable deaths. 

The following data illustrates the number of lives that could be saved in Australia if public access to and usage of AEDs improved.

Sudden Cardiac Arrests (annual estimate in Australia)           33,000
Estimated survival rate without early defibrillation                          5%         1,650

Estimated survival rate with early defibrillation by bystanders     80%       26,400

Estimated survival rate with Seattle's success rate                        62%       20,460

Please add your support to this petition – there are literally thousands of lives at stake each year in this country and hundreds of thousands of lives, globally.

February 17 is the anniversary of my husband Paul’s death from sudden cardiac arrest.  You never know when it could be someone you know and love.  Anyone of us can be an Urban Lifesaver if we just know why, when & how to get a victim back in a heart beat.

I am not only a widow but also a registered nurse, first aid trainer, author of 'Back in a Heart Beat' which busts the myths associated with sudden cardiac arrest and defibrillators, and producer of a short educational film 'Back in a Heart Beat'.

Urban Lifesavers is a not-for-profit & registered charity established in 2015 to raise awareness about public access defibrillation.

Please share this petition with your networks and help us to save lives

Anne Holland (Co-founder registered charity Urban Lifesavers)

M: 0414 560 364



T: @UrbanLifesavers


0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!