As part of an effort to reduce New Zealand’s cardiac arrest toll, St John ambulance officers and first aid tutors are volunteering their time to deliver a free 3 Steps for Life community education programme to the public.
“More than 1,200 people die every year in New Zealand (population 4.5 million) after suffering a cardiac arrest. New Zealand’s cardiac arrest toll is four times the national road toll and yet it remains a silent disease in terms of public awareness,” says St John Medical Director Tony Smith.
3 Steps for Life is designed to give all New Zealanders the confidence and awareness to take action when somebody suffers a cardiac arrest by 1) Calling 111; 2) Starting CPR; and3) Using an AED (automated external defibrillator).
St John’s last Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) Report (2014/15) revealed that 64% of cardiac arrests occur at home and 19% happen in public so it’s vital that family members and bystanders are ready to take action/CPR.
St John’s OHCA Report also revealed Māori, New Zealand’s indigenous people, are disproportionally affected with a 40% higher chance of suffering a cardiac arrest than all other ethnic groups. As a result St John has also developed a ‘Marae Cardiac Arrest programme’ using the 3 Steps for Life approach.
St John Pou Takawaenga (Māori liaison officers) are working with Māori communities and have engaged 30 marae around New Zealand to support training in CPR and access to defibrillators.
“St John is committed to enhancing Maori community health outcomes through our Te Ara Hato Hone strategy, just as building community resilience is an essential goal,” says St John Director of Community Health Services, Sarah Manley.
St John aims to deliver the free hour-long 3 Steps programme to at least 5,000 people over the next year, in community groups throughout New Zealand.