Dive Club AED Grant
Survival from a cardiac arrest relies on a number of factors, including early activation of the emergency services, early CPR, early defibrillation, and early Advanced Cardiac Life Support (the ‘Chain of Survival’). CPR plus defibrillation within 3-5 minutes of cardiac arrest can produce survival rates as high as 49-75%. However, the longer the delay, the lower than chance of survival.
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are electronic devices that assess heart rhythm and can deliver an electric shock when a lethal but shockable rhythm is detected. They have been shown to be safe and effective and are increasingly common in public spaces and workplaces for use by bystanders, with or without training. All CPR courses now include an orientation to using an AED. Current evidence indicates that they are safe to use in a wet environment (within reason -see below).
Diving and cardiac problems
The diving population is aging and, currently, the average age of active divers is around 45 years old. Over more recent years, around 25-30% of diving-related deaths are the result of cardiac issues, which are often undiagnosed so the victim may be unaware of any potential problem. Diving is conducive to cardiac problems and usually takes place in locations where there will be inevitable delays to the arrival of emergency services. As a result, the likelihood of early defibrillation is low. A diver’s chance of survival can be increased if they are rescued swiftly, CPR is begun with minimal delay, and there is an AED available at the dive site.
The AED promotion
To this end, the ADSF is trialling a new Diving Safety Promotion to encourage dive clubs to purchase an AED and have it available when their members are diving. Suitable AEDs are available on the market for around $1,800 - $2,300. An O-ring-sealed waterproof case needs to be added (cheap and suitable cases similar to Pelican cases are available at Bunnings for around $60). Any AED used on a boat needs to be reasonably durable and water resistant. It is important to assess this and not to simply select the cheapest available AED.
The ADSF promotion includes reimbursement of $1,250 of the purchase price of a new AED.
An application process including a questionnaire applies. Based on responses to these, the ADSF will assess whether it will provide support. The process is confidential and there will be no right of appeal if an organisation’s application is unsuccessful. It may be wise to await confirmation of a successful grant prior to purchasing a unit.
An authorised dive club representative would need to provide evidence of purchase of the AED and a completed application form. We are very interested in the outcome of this project and plan to maintain contact with grant recipients annually, to learn of any issues and outcomes associated with the AED.