Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

7 July 2015

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health

Defibrillator program saving lives in Tasmania

The Liberal Government is committed to fixing the broken health system and ensuring Tasmanians in need get access to better health services.

Today I am pleased to announce that Tasmania’s nation-leading and innovative Early Access to Defibrillation Program has reached the milestone of having 500 Automated External Defibrillators ready to save lives around the state.

In an Australian first, all four of the State’s emergency services are now collaborating on Ambulance Tasmania’s Early Access to Defibrillation Program.

The Department of Police and Emergency Management, which recently began participating in the program, have added over 70 community AEDs to the Ambulance Tasmania database, significantly increasing the capacity to deliver lifesaving early access to defibrillation.

In less than 12 months Tasmania has developed the largest, per capita database of community held AEDs in Australia.

Under the Early Access to Defibrillation Program, there are now AEDs in police and fire service vehicles, as well as in ambulances and with community organisations and members of the public.

When someone calls 000, Ambulance Tasmania can direct the closest emergency service vehicle with an AED to the scene, giving the patient the best possible chance of survival. This Program is expected to provide Tasmanians with some of the best response times to cardiac arrest in the world.

We have recently reached the milestone of 500 AEDs registered with the program, which gives us a terrific ability to get an AED to a person suffering cardiac arrest in that vital first few minutes.

When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, blood is no longer being pumped around their body. With each passing minute the probability of survival declines by 7-10 per cent, so early access to defibrillation is critical.

AEDs are designed to be used by anyone, whether it is community members or emergency service personnel.  Training in the use of an AED is not essential to save a life, but in a cardiac arrest having an AED present within the first few minutes is the key to survival. 

The Early Access to Defibrillation Program is a demonstration of all our emergency services' commitment to saving lives. This is a clear sign of the high level of innovation, leadership and collaboration within our emergency services.

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