Should there be more AED requirements for Australian Businesses?

Friday, April 06, 2018


AEDs are not currently required First Aid equipment for almost any business under current Australian law, however the 2018 Government review of Work health and Safety laws is currently open for public consultation, with the Federal Government asking for input from everyone, no matter what role you are in, your industry or business size.

The WHS Act states that one of its aims is to "protect the health and safety of workers and other people by eliminating or minimising risks arising from work or workplaces" and to assist "businesses and workers to achieve a healthier and safer working environment". The current Code of Practice only state AEDs are "a useful addition for workplaces where there is a risk of electrocution or where there are large numbers of members of the public" but does not go so far as to make them a requirement for such workplaces.

If you would like to see more AEDs in workplaces where SCA is a risk, or in workplaces where large numbers of members of the public are present, now is you chance - visit the government website below to make your concerns heard:

For more information on calling for increased mandatory AEDs in Australia, visit the "Australian Hearts" website at:

AEDs required in 2018 QLD Diving and Snorkelling Code of Practice

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


In an update to our article in August on changes to the Snorkelling Code that required "all reef tourist vessels" to carry an AED, the Queensland Government has widened the scope well beyond the reef to include any Recreational Snorkelling, Recreational Diving and Recreational Technical Diving in Queensland as a business or undertaking outside of a swimming pool.

Released last week, the "Recreational Diving, Recreational Technical Diving and Snorkelling Code of Practice 2018" now states that:

The person conducting the business or undertaking should ensure that an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) and trained operator is available on the vessel or readily accessible at the dive or snorkel site (for example, located on the primary vessel, on the dive pontoon, or for shore-based snorkelling, on the shore or in a close by location).
In circumstances where an operator determines it is not reasonably practicable to provide an AED (for example, a small vessel), a documented risk assessment should describe all the matters considered in making this determination.
The AED should be located in an area that is known to all staff, clearly visible and readily accessible. The device should be clearly signed and maintained according to the manufacturer's specifications.

Download the full document now: Recreational Diving, Recreational Technical Diving and Snorkelling Code of Practice 2018.

This news article does not constitute Legal Advice. If you have any concerns or questions, please refer to your lawyer.

St John WA reports bystander CPR and AED use is vital for survival

Monday, October 30, 2017

Community AEDs

For the first time, St John Ambulance WA have released an Annual Report on the management of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, using data reaching back decades from the PRECU registry at Curtin University.

The report reveals the number of West Australians surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) has increased 75% in the past three years due to an increase in bystanders stepping in to perform CPR and use public defibrillators. Data shows that patients shocked by a public AED survive at twice the rate of those shocked just a few minutes later by a St John clinical crew. The discharge alive rate of 57 per cent provides powerful evidence as to the value of public AEDs and their associated impact on survival outcomes.

Unadjusted survival outcomes according to who shocked the first in OHCA cases of all ages where resuscitation was commenced with a shockable rhythm in WA in 2016
Unadjusted survival outcomes according to who shocked the first in OHCA cases of all ages where resuscitation was commenced with a shockable rhythm in WA in 2016 (ROSC: Return Of Spontaneous Circulation)

The report also shows the median response times for SJA WA paramedics to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest events where bystanders did NOT initiate resuscitation was 12 minutes for rural WA and 9 minutes for the Perth Metropolitan area. With irreversible damage starting within 3 to 5 minutes after circulation stops and victims being unresuscitatable at around 10 minutes without circulation, it is clear that bystander CPR and AED use is absolutely critical in the chain of survival.

Response time of OHCA cases of all ages where resuscitation was commenced by SJA WA paramedics
Response time of OHCA cases of all ages where resuscitation was commenced by SJA WA paramedics

The St John WA Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Report emphasises that: "for every minute post-arrest without either CPR of defibrillation, survival falls 10 per cent. This carries the heavy implication that events preceding ambulance arrival are critical to the eventual patient outcome. Patients who receive early, high quality CPR and defibrillation with a locally available AED survive at approximately five times the rate of those who have neither."

Download the full report now: St John WA - Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Report 2016.

Research proves community AEDs and CPR training is effective

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Community AEDs

Research published this month in the European Resuscitation Council's official journal Resuscitation examines communities out-of-hospital Cardiac Arrest data, before and after running widespread CPR instruction programs and making AEDs available.

The research discovered that once the communities had made CPR training and AEDs readily available, out-of-hospital victims of Cardiac Arrest were four times more likely to receive CPR and twice as likely to receive defibrillation before emergency services arrived.

"Chest compressions and AED placement are critical first steps in the chain of survival that can be performed by citizens and first responders, so engaging the public is crucial," said Lori Boland, lead author of the study.

The study examined 294 out-of-hospital Cardiac Arrest events across 17 communities, 120 before the communities had widespread AEDs and CPR training available, and 174 events afterwards. Bystander CPR rates increased from 83% to 95%, and bystander Defibrillation increased from 63% to 77% - with a recorded rise in survival rates.

"This paper confirms our belief that training the public results in increased bystander CPR and AED rates," said Dr. Charles Lick, coauthor of the report.

Read the announcement from the authors at Allina Health and download the paper from Resuscitation, Vol. 119, October 2017, Pages 33-36.

AEDs required by law on Queensland reef vessels

Monday, August 14, 2017


With 10 tourist fatalities in 6 months around the Great Barrier Reef, the Queensland State Government has put into law a stronger Code of Practice for Recreational Snorkelling and will shortly announce revised Diving Safety guidelines.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace announced the long-awaited changes to make the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland's other waterways safer for snorkellers.

  • Automatic External Defibrillators now required on all reef tourist vessels to improve emergency response capabilities.
  • Allow operators to request declarations from persons identified as at-risk snorkellers prior to them entering the water.
  • Mandate the use of floatation devices for at-risk snorkellers.
  • Ensure at-risk snorkellers wear a different coloured vest or snorkel and mask for easy visual identification.

Col McKenzie, CEO of Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators said the changes would "empower’" operators, who could now ask visitors to declare any medical history "If they refuse... then they can be told they are not getting in the water. Until now, we have had to let them and wear the consequences".

Ms Grace said the reforms were the result of the Reef Safety Roundtable held in Cairns in February, and the is working with stakeholders to finalise a Recreational Diving Code of Practice to be announced in coming weeks.

Bystanders saving lives in Victoria

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Ambulance Victoria's 2015-2016 Cardiac Arrest Registry Annual Report reveals encouraging statistics where bystanders have been stepping in to help and making a real difference while waiting for Emergency Medical Services to arrive.

  • Patients who received bystander CPR were twice as likely to be discharged alive from hospital.
  • Patients who received bystander CPR were 11 times more likely to be found in a shockable rhythm.
  • Patients who received bystander Defibrillator shock survived the event 76% of the time, as opposed to 50% when waiting for ambulance paramedics to arrive and deliver the shock.

These great results in Victoria further highlights the need for Public Access AEDs with CPR coaching across Australia - it makes a life saving difference.

Download the full report now: Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry (VACAR) 2015-2016 Annual Report.

HeartSine donates AEDs with "Forward Hearts" program

Monday, March 13, 2017

Heartsine donates defibrillators with Forward Hearts program

Individuals who survive a Sudden Cardiac Arrest due to a HeartSine defibrillator are given the chance to save other lives thanks to HeartSine's "Forward Hearts" program, which donates a samaritan Public Access Defibrillator to the charity or organization of their choice.

To celebrate the life-saving event, the donation is made in the survivor's name (unless they prefer anonymity), in HeartSine's name, and in the distributor's name.

To learn more about the Forward Hearts program watch the video where one of our distributors at a donation event, where they explain how Forward Hearts work. For further information, download the Forward Hearts Brochure and Distributors Guide to Forward Hearts.

Heartsine AED saves life at Frenchmans Beach, NSW

Monday, February 13, 2017

Heartsine Samaritan AED saves life at Frenchmans Beach near Caves Beach, Lake Macquarie, NSW

Bystanders and Lifeguards with a Heartsine Defibrillator have saved a surfer's life at Frenchman's Beach in the Caves Beach area south of Newcastle.

The 65-year-old was leaving the water at 11am on Friday when he collapsed - CPR was administered by an off-duty paramedic on the beach, before lifeguards arrived from nearby Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club with a HeartSine Samaritan AED.

"We put the pads on and we gave one shock, and a few minutes after that he came to," said Caves Beach Lifeguard James McMorland "I haven't really thought about it much but it may kick in later: sort of that we brang someone back to life."

The man was airlifted from the beach by the Westpac Rescue Chopper and taken to the John Hunter Hospital, additionally suffering a laceration from hitting his head on his surfboard when he collapsed.

NBN News interviewed lifeguards and an off-duty lifeguard involved.

"The defibrillator - nicknamed the Samaritan - it did the trick," said reporter Samuel Djodan.

Is your defibrillator at risk of being hacked?

Monday, February 06, 2017

Defibrillators Hacked?

Making for scary headlines everywhere is the announcement from the US Federal and Drug Administration that weaknesses have been found in some cardiac devices, making it possible for a hacker to remotely access the device and cause it to function incorrectly - potentially causing fatalities. But what are the facts?

  • Automated External Defibrillators such as our range of Heartsine AEDs are completely unaffected.
  • This announcement is only relevant to Internal Defibrillators and Pacemakers.
  • Only devices fitted with wireless communications are vulnerable to this attack.
  • Successful hacking has so far been limited entirely to security firms aiming to fix any vulnerabilities they can find in order to make these devices safer.

Internal defibrillators and pacemakers developed in recent years are frequently built with wireless communications access (similar to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) to allow medical professionals to remotely monitor the device, download performance data and make adjustments. For example, pacemakers implanted into younger patients often need reconfiguring throughout the first few months to allow the device to recognise and respond correctly to the patients more physically active lifestyle than it's default settings are prepared for. Being able to make these adjustments without surgery has obvious health benefits.

Unfortunately, this means there is also a potential that a highly skilled hacker could gain access to the device via the same means, and make changes to the internal defibrillator/internal pacemaker and cause serious harm to the patient.

In reality, such hacking has to date only been successfully done by security firms attempting to find vulnerabilities in these devices, with the specific aim of improving their security and prevent malicious hackers from gaining access. The recent headlines are for one manufacturer in particular, but the potential for hacking similar internal devices with wireless communication has been known and studied for quite some time, and this research does occasionally make for dramatic headlines in the news.

You can read the full announcement from the FDA, and while it intentionally makes for sobering reading, the FDA stresses in the report that:

"There have been no reports of patient harm related to these cybersecurity vulnerabilities"

The announcement details that the manufacturer in this specific case has already created a fix for the issue, and outlines what steps you need to take to ensure the fix reaches affected devices.

Federation University to study Defibrillator use

Thursday, February 02, 2017

two lives saved

Federation University researchers will study medical emergency management and defibrillator use in sporting clubs, after the state government provided grants for 1000 defibrillators and training to be made available to Victorian sports clubs and facilities. The research itself is also the result of a Victorian Government grant.

Talking to Aero Healthcare, Federation University project manager Dr Lauren Fortington said "The research is aimed at understanding the defib program uptake and outcomes and changes to policy/practice at a community sports level. The project fits in with our team's broader implementation/translation research in community sports safety. This project, while focused on Victorian sports clubs, will no doubt have benefit to national, and international, discussion too."

The research team will also look at whether there are changes in the participants' confidence and preparedness for responding to medical emergencies.

"It is critical to look at the behavioural and organisational changes that take place in sports clubs to ensure that long term benefits from such programmes are realised," Dr Lauren Fortington said. "We will look at what the participants learn from the programme, and what they remember over time from their defibrillator use and CPR skills training."

The research will be conducted through FedUni’s Australian Collaboration for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), one of only nine centres worldwide that are part of the International Olympic Committee medical research network for prevention of injury and protection of athlete health.

For more details see the Federation University grant announcement: FedUni to research medical emergency management in sporting clubs

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