Defibrillator Awareness Month

Defibrillator Awareness Month

12 October 2016

October is the official month for Defibrillator Awareness, also known as Shoctober. In the event of cardiac arrest, a defibrillator on hand can mean the difference between life and death. Killing between 23,000 and 33,000 Australians each year, cardiac arrest has a survival rate of less than 5% and is one of the leading causes of death in Australia.

Defibrillator Awareness month is an excellent time to understand the difference between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest. The two terms are often used interchangeably, however they are very different. A heart attack occurs when an artery becomes blocked preventing blood from reaching a section of the heart, which will then begin to die. Unlike a heart attack sudden cardiac arrest is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart, which causes the heart to stop. With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. Within seconds a person will lose consciousness and if the victim does not receive treatment, death can occur within minutes.

The time sensitive nature of a sudden cardiac arrest highlights just how important having a defibrillator close by can be. The chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest increases from 5% up to 70% when CPR is combined with defibrillation. Defibrillators are easy to use, maintain and will only administer a shock when it is needed - they will never shock someone who does not need it.

St John SA is committed to ensuring the wide spread implementation of public access defibrillators in the community. Having a defibrillator on hand at your workplace or community club can make the difference between life and death in the first few minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest incident. To find out more about defibrillators, contact St John SA by phone 1300 ST JOHN (78 5646) or email