Greg Page, like most Australians who suffer from a heart attack, didn’t see it coming. While onstage for a bushfire relief concert in January this year, the original yellow Wiggles star collapsed from a heart attack and went into sudden cardiac arrest.
Almost dying, Greg beat the one in 10 chance of surviving a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital for two reasons: 1) he received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the critical moments following his collapse and 2) the venue had a defibrillator.
Most Australians who suffer from a cardiac arrest, however, are not as lucky as Greg. Although, with the help of PICA Group, The Defib Warehouse, and Greg’s not-for-profit — Heart of the Nation, more lives could be saved by increasing access to defibrillators.
Automated external defibrillators — which are also referred to as AEDs or defibs — are lifesaving pieces of equipment. Used at the right time, a defibrillator can increase the survival rate of someone suffering from a cardiac arrest.
“I actually felt well before the show. I always thought I was reasonably fit and healthy, but it’s the unknown stuff that’s going on inside of you — the things you don’t know about. I suppose that’s why they call it sudden cardiac arrest because it can happen just like that. I was saved because there were people who knew CPR and because there was a defibrillator on-site at the Terrey Hills RSL Club, and they got the defib on me quickly,” said Greg.
Cardiac arrest kills between 22,000 – 30,000 Australians every year. In fact, heart disease is Australia’s biggest killer.
Of Australia’s sudden cardiac arrests, around 71 per cent happen in people’s private residences and homes where there often isn’t access to defibrillators despite being reasonably affordable.
According to PICA Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Wayne Walker, increasing access to defibrillators within homes to save lives is a must-have. So much so, PICA Group is contributing $450,000 to help customers, and residential buildings become safer.
“We installed 34 AEDs across PICA Group offices to try and keep our staff safe. Now, we want to try and keep our customers safe too by financially supporting the placement of 1,500 AEDs across PICA Group managed buildings. We usually talk about enhancing community living, but this initiative goes well beyond that. Too many people die because of a lack of access to defibrillators and a lack of knowledge about CPR.
“By providing customers with $300 gift cards, we want to encourage customers to install these lifesaving machines. We have partnered with a leading supplier, who is offering competitive prices, so committees or owners can afford to make their home or property safer. If this initiative saves just one life, it was well worth it,” said Wayne.
Cardiac arrest can happen to people at any age due to heart disease or as a result of trauma such as falls, incidents and accidents, breathing conditions, allergic reactions, and other medical conditions. Defibrillators are safe and are designed to be used by untrained members of the public.
As a piece of equipment, AEDs are automated and talk users through the process. Defibrillators are most successful with effective CPR and when applied to the casualty within three minutes. Every minute thereafter reduces the survival rate by 10 per cent.
To deliver a comprehensive service, PICA Group’s partnership with The Defib Wearhouse means that any defibrillators purchased through this initiative comes with training and unlimited access to online help. This means customers and communities can learn how to deliver effective CPR to accompany defibrillator use and maximise the chances of saving someone’s life.
For Stephen Carroll, who is on the committee at the Akuna Residences in Sydney’s Terrey Hills, the purchase of three defibrillators has been a logical decision. “We want our community to be as safe as possible, and we hope we never have to use our AED,” said Stephen.
At PICA Group, we understand that it’s not always up to a paramedic or medical expert to save someone’s life. Sometimes, it’s up to our family, friends and neighbours.
While Greg has recovered physically from his brush with death, the incident has changed his life. After initiating Heart of the Nation, Greg is on a mission to educate people on why defibrillators are needed in all homes and buildings. “They make a massive, massive difference and this is why we have to get them everywhere,” said Greg.
To sign up for your $300 gift cards towards a AED model of your choice – for your strata property or as an individual, visit here. Act now, only 1,500 gift cards are available!