Is your business Heart Safe?

Does your Fitness Centre have a Public Access Defibrillator?

According to the Heart Foundation, it is estimated that there are approximately 30,000 cases of sudden cardiac arrest within Australia each year, with the majority occurring outside of the hospital setting. Of this 30,000, Take Heart Australia reports that, on average, only nine-to-ten per cent of these people survive. Without immediate medical attention, the likelihood of surviving a cardiac arrest is considerably diminished. According to the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC), defibrillation significantly improves survival after a cardiac arrest. If it is delivered quickly, up to 75 per cent of people can survive.

To give your members the best chance of survival in the event of a cardiac emergency,
fitness facilities should invest in a Public Access Defibrillator and train their staff how to use it.

A sudden cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, any time, however it doesn’t have to be an inevitable death sentence. While in Australia the overall survival rate from a cardiac arrest is less than 10 per cent, this rate is dramatically better in other parts of the world.1

In Seattle, USA (a metropolitan area with similar characteristics to metropolitan Australia), intensive efforts have pushed the rate of survival after cardiac arrest to 62 per cent2. These efforts include:

  • The availability of community-wide free cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training
  • Widespread placement of publicly accessible defibrillators
  • Established cardiac arrest registry to help inform doctors and researchers

Elsewhere in North America, system-wide programs have pushed survival rates into the region of 20-30 per cent.

While there will be individuals who cannot be saved, such as isolated older people who suffer a cardiac arrest when they are at home, Physio Control believes it is feasible to target a survival rate of 50 per cent, which translates to 12,000 more Australian lives saved every year. It also represents significant social and economic savings.

What is the solution?

According to Professor Paul Middleton, the first five minutes holds the key to survival. Australia needs more people, of all ages, who are trained and willing to provide immediate CPR. Australia also needs more easily accessible defibrillators and more people confident and prepared to use them. We need a coordinated healthcare system, designed to provide the type of care that increases the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest. Above all, we need the public to mobilise and become part of the solution. Increasing survival simply will not occur unless we empower the community to drive change from within.

The greatest chance of survival

When it comes to saving a life, time is critical. Someone has to immediately recognise that a person has suffered a cardiac arrest and begin CPR. An ambulance has to be called. A defibrillator needs to be accessible and someone has to use it quickly. The survivor then needs urgent transportation to hospital, where the best post-arrest care is available.

Lauretta Stace

Lauretta Stace is a leading advocate for the health and fitness industry in Australia. Since becoming the Chief Executive Officer of Fitness Australia in 2006, Lauretta has embarked upon a systematic and strategic journey to raise the profile of the fitness industry, to help integrate the industry within the health sector and to ensure that the industry is recognised for its important role in helping millions of people to improve their health and wellbeing through regular exercise and other lifestyle changes. In doing so, Lauretta has transformed Fitness Australia from being a small, fragmented group of industry bodies into a leading national industry association with over 30,000 customers, multiple external stakeholder connections, and a strong profile within government and the media. Lauretta has held leadership roles in both the not-for-profit and private sectors for over 20 years within health-related organisations.


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