Original yellow Wiggle Greg Page wants Australia’s sudden cardiac arrest survival rate lifted from 5%.
Four years ago, he survived a cardiac arrest while performing at a Wiggles reunion show at Castle Hill RSL. He survived because bystanders knew how to perform CPR and there was an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in the club where he was performing. An off-duty nurse in the audience was able to re-start Mr Page’s heart using the AED.
“I have absolutely NO doubt that it was the quick action of bystanders and the use of an AED that saved my life that day,” Mr Page said.
This February, the organisation he founded, Heart of the Nation, is on a mission to encourage more people to confidently use an AED to increase the lives from sudden cardiac arrest, which currently affects around 25,000 Australians annually.
“No medical or first aid training is required to quickly respond to someone in cardiac arrest where an AED is nearby. Early defibrillation by an AED can increase survival rates drastically while waiting for an ambulance to arrive,” Mr Page said.
The ‘Turn Me On, I’ll Tell You What To Do’ campaign is designed to increase bystander confidence and willingness to use an AED when someone is not responding and not breathing normally.
“It is crucial that people understand that when it comes to sudden cardiac arrest, any attempt at resuscitation is better than none, and the role an AED plays is vital to giving the patient the best chance of surviving,” Mr Page said.
In Macarthur, Wests Group Macarthur, Campbelltown Catholic Club and Ingleburn RSL have committed to a $600,000 3-year deal through the ClubGRANTS program with monies invested to fund the purchase and installation of AED’s into residential suburbs across the region.
The sponsorship will help fund 66 units per year, including Heart of the Nation wall mounted AEDs, outdoor housing, a tracking device with connectivity for eight years, a set of replacement pads, batteries and supporting AED signage.
These leading Macarthur clubs share the vision of Heart of The Nation, which is to have an AED accessible within 1 minute of every home, as AED treatment within a 3 – 5 minute window has been proven to improve lifesaving outcomes by up to seventy percent.
Last month, the program gave Wollondilly its first two AEDs in The Oaks and Thirlmere with more residential locations to follow.
Ambulance Victoria reported that a survival rate as high as 67% can be achieved when an AED is used within the first 3 minutes from the patient’s collapse.
However, AEDs are currently only used by community members in around 8% of cases before paramedics arrive. Accessibility to an AED, and bystander confidence to use one are the two key factors.
“When someone collapses due to a cardiac arrest (unconscious and not breathing normally), they rely upon community members to act rapidly, while waiting for paramedics to arrive to help save their life,” Mr Page said.
“An AED becomes the team leader, talking to responders and telling them exactly what they can do to give that person the best chance of surviving”.
Head of Education and Training with Heart of the Nation, Kevin McSweeney emphasises that the difference an AED can make to saving a life is staggering, time is critical in a sudden cardiac arrest episode and all that is required from an AED is that you turn it on.
“As a paramedic with over 25 years’ experience, I turn up to cardiac arrests, and see people doing CPR, which is great, but we also notice a lot of the time there may be an AED nearby and no one has noticed or they have not had the confidence to use it,” Mr McSweeney said.
You could register your interest to host an AED in the Macarthur region HERE.
Greg Page with Macarthur local Graham Miles launching Champions of Macarthur last year