Kiwis will soon be able to access life-saving automated external defibrillators (AED’s) at 181 Countdown supermarkets across the country.
With AEDs already in some of its supermarkets, distribution centres and support offices, Countdown is now providing a further 140 brand new, step-by-step voice instructed machines to its stores, designed to be easy to use by members of the public or team if needed. Countdown supermarkets will also have a fully-trained first aider rostered on every shift.
Kiri Hannifin who head’s Countdown’s Health and Safety function said its supermarkets are part of communities all around the country and that early access to an AED has been shown to help increase the chance of survival.
“We have more than three million customers in our supermarkets every week, and the reality is that medical events can, and do, happen in or near our stores. We’ve invested in the latest audio AED machines that are designed to be easy to use, and these will be available to our team or any members of the public in the event of an emergency,” said Hannifin.
The New Zealand Red Cross supports Countdown’s initiative to provide an AED in every store, and is also helping train Countdown’s team and first-aiders on how to use the new devices.
“There are an estimated 1,600 cardiac arrests every year in New Zealand which lead to over 1,300 deaths each year,” said Marcus Bird, National Products Manager for New Zealand Red Cross.
“New Zealand Red Cross strongly encourages the installation of AEDs in all community spaces where people gather, such as a mall, school or supermarket. Also, having trained teams or members of the public on hand could be the difference in keeping someone alive, particularly in remote areas,” said Bird.
For every minute without CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) or treatment from an AED to restart the heart, a person’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest decreases by 10 percent.