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ASB And St John Gift Life-saving Defibrillators To Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates

St John and its partner ASB have joined forces to gift life-saving defibrillators to deprived and rural communities around New Zealand, to help reduce cardiac arrest fatalities.

ASB, and Philips, have donated 28 external defibrillators (AEDs) to be installed at businesses, community centres, marae, sports grounds and schools, identified by St John as locations where there is a community need.

Of the 28 AEDs, one was presented to Tukotahi Marae in the remote Bay of Plenty town of Maketu today. This will be followed by St John’s ‘3 Steps for Life’ programme, to teach locals how to perform CPR and use an AED.

A Tukotahi Marae spokesperson, Karen Pene, says it’s a valuable gift for the community. “We are so grateful to be given this device. We are a coastal community that comes into contact with dozens of fishermen and we see a lot of people and whanau coming and going from our community, from the young to the old. It’s reassuring to have this available to our people for when it’s needed.”

Death from cardiac arrest is our silent toll. It can happen to anyone of any age, including children. Findings from St John’s Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) Report released today, reveals that five people a day (nearly 2,000 per year) are treated by St John for a cardiac arrest that occurs in the community and every minute that goes by without CPR or defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by 10-15 percent, with only 13% surviving a cardiac arrest.

“One of the most significant improvements we can make to our cardiac arrest survival rate is to boost the number of AEDs available to the public and ensure more people are trained in CPR,” says St John Medical Director Dr Tony Smith.

“Our research also continues to show that compared with Europeans, Maori and Pacific peoples have a disproportionally higher incidence of out of hospital cardiac arrest, associated with risk factors such as deprivation. We know that lives can be saved by taking three easy steps: call 111 for an ambulance, immediately start CPR and find and use the nearest AED,” he says.

St John’s OHCA report also reveals that rates of cardiac arrest are also higher in rural areas, and as socioeconomic deprivation increases, the rate of cardiac arrest follows.

ASB has been supporting St John to get AEDs into communities with the greatest need, to help increase the chance of survival for the most vulnerable people.

“We have AEDs in all of our branches and have had to use them a number of times, so we know how critical they can be in an emergency, and the difference they can make,” says ASB head of Community and Sponsorship, Mark Graham.

“We’ve been a partner of St John for over 12 years and we’re incredibly proud of the work we have done together over that time. Helping to get 28 more AEDs into locations across New Zealand, especially in communities that may be lacking access to such services, will hopefully make a big difference in emergency situations when they need it most.”

Other locations earmarked for an AED include Whangarei Primary School, Tunohopu Marae in Rotorua, Napier Tech Sports Club and Corstorphine Community Hub in Dunedin.


Notes to editors:

The full St John Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Report 2018/19 is available here.

Know where the AEDs in your area are located. If you would like to register an AED or find the location of an AED in your community, go to

Anyone over 18 who knows how to perform CPR can register and download the GoodSAM Responder app from so they can be alerted that a person nearby is in cardiac arrest and needs help, enabling them to provide CPR and use an AED before emergency services arrive, possibly saving a life.

St John offers a free 3 Steps for Life course to teach CPR and how to use an AED. For more information, visit

Cardiac arrest should not be confused with heart attack:

What is cardiac arrest? A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating and often

happens without warning. No blood is pumped to the brain and seconds later the

person will lose consciousness and have abnormal breathing. Death occurs within

minutes if the person does not receive CPR and emergency treatment. The most

common cause of cardiac arrest is a heart attack, but there are other causes including

drowning and electrocution.

What is a heart attack? A heart attack occurs when a blocked artery stops blood from

reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part

of the heart supplied by that artery begins to die. The longer a person goes without

treatment, the greater the damage. Symptoms of a heart attack include chest

discomfort that may go into the arms, neck or jaw. Most patients having a heart attack

will not have a cardiac arrest.

St John at the frontline of emergency services

St John provides emergency ambulance services to nearly 90% of New Zealanders and covers 97% of the country’s geographical area.

With more than 540,000 calls into our 111 clinical communication centres and almost 500,000 patients treated and/or transported to hospital in the last financial year (end June 2019), St John ambulance officers are at the frontline of emergency services.

St John has more than 4,600 paid and volunteer ambulance officers and more than 700 ambulances and operational vehicles throughout the country, responding to emergencies 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

ASB and St John

ASB and St John have enjoyed a strong partnership since 2008. ASB is involved with St John in many ways:

  • All ASB branches are equipped with an AED (automated external defibrillator) and have AED-trained staff ready to help in an emergency.
  • In 2016 ASB became the new sponsor of ASB St John in Schools, a first aid programme, delivered in partnership with ACC, which teaches Kiwi kids life-saving skills and the confidence to take action in an emergency.
  • ASB staff volunteer on St John Area Committees, at local St John events, or as Caring Callers.
  • ASB staff contribute to St John Annual Appeal fundraising campaigns.

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