LIFE-saving technology will soon be in place in nine city-centre locations across the Central West.
Each year, 20,000 Australians suffer a cardiac arrest outside a hospital every year, the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute says.
The survival rate for a cardiac arrest outside of hospital is around 10 per cent and, for the victim, the first three to five minutes hold the key to survival.
As part of a nationwide roll-out, Woolworths supermarkets are installing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at every single store to use in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.
Nine Woolies stores across the Central West will receive the technology by the end of June, these include: Bathurst, Cowra, Dubbo, Forbes, Lithgow, Mudgee, Orange, Parkes and Young.
Other stores in the region will receive an AED by the end of the year.
Every Woolworths store will have a first aid responder who will be trained in operating the AED, but they are also designed to be used by anyone, with clear step-by-step voice instructions that can guide members of the public through the process.
In a statement, the Heart Foundation welcomed the initiative and chief executive officer Adjunct Professor, John Kelly said around 10,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest each year.
During a cardiac arrest, the heart stops. Symptoms include sudden collapse and loss of consciousness and no, or abnormal, breathing.
"We know that for every minute without CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) or treatment with an AED to restart the heart, your chances of surviving a cardiac arrest go down by 10 per cent," Professor Kelly said.
"After 10 minutes without it, there is little chance of survival at all. For people who have a cardiac arrest outside hospital, the survival rate is only 10 per cent.
Woolworths managing director Claire Peters said as a business with a presence in more than 1000 communities across the country, they want to do our bit to help save lives.
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"Our first point of action is installing the defibrillators in rural and regional communities where it may be hard for locals to access hospital or medical attention immediately in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest," she said.
"AEDs are designed to be easy to use and will be available to any members of the public in the event of an emergency."