Coles and Woolworths have installed public access defibrillators in all their stores: It is time other Australian businesses followed their lead

Emerg Med Australas. 2020 Feb;32(1):166-168. doi: 10.1111/1742-6723.13429. Epub 2019 Dec 10.


We welcome the recent announcement by Coles and Woolworths that public access defibrillators (PADs) are now available in their stores, as early defibrillation with PADs is associated with significantly increased survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs). From 2008 to 2018 there were 120 OHCAs in Victorian supermarkets, overall 26.6% survived; however, when defibrillated by a PAD 66.6% survived. For all OHCA in Victoria, survival for defibrillation by a PAD was also higher at 55.5%, compared to 28.8% for paramedic defibrillation. Using this state-wide PAD survival rate, we estimate an additional 12 patients could have survived had PADs been available in all supermarkets. In Victoria last year there were 421 potentially viable OHCAs in public locations, of these 132 patients survived; however, had PADs been available an additional 101 patients could have survived. We therefore strongly encourage local businesses to install PADs, to safeguard the well-being of their employees, customers and local communities.

Keywords: automated external defibrillator; out-of-hospital cardiac arrest; public access defibrillator.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Defibrillators / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / epidemiology
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / therapy*
  • Public Health*