Sonia Calabria who suffered a cardiac arrest at work and was revived with a defibrillator by paramedics shortly after.
Sonia Calabria who suffered a cardiac arrest at work and was revived with a defibrillator by paramedics shortly after.

Coles’ new move to save lives

COLES has teamed up with The Heart Foundation to roll out defibrillators in all their supermarkets and distribution centres by July 1 and train at least five staff per location to provide assistance to anyone in the event of a heart attack.

This means more than 800 locations throughout the country will be fitted out with the machine to combat the shocking figure of cardiovascular disease killing one Australian every 12 minutes.

"All our first aid team members will be trained in the use of the AED, and we have chosen an easy-to-use device that includes audio and visual instructions so that just about anyone can use it in the case of an emergency," said Coles director of safety David Brewster.

St John Ambulance Australia CEO Gordon Botwright believes this will have a positive impact in local communities across the country.

"Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in Australia, but if victims receive defibrillation within the first few minutes their chances of survival are significantly strengthened from just five per cent without defibrillation to more than 70 per cent," he said.

Sonia Calabria from Sydney suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and was revived with a defibrillator by paramedics shortly after.
Sonia Calabria from Sydney suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and was revived with a defibrillator by paramedics shortly after.

Sydney mother Sonia Calabria, 36, is living life to the full, years after paramedics saved her life after she went into cardiac arrest at work.

The North Balgowlah mother-of-two collapsed at her desk during a conversation with her boss, who felt an unwarranted need to get into work early that morning.

Within minutes, a paramedic team arrived to revive Ms Calabria with a defibrillator. "I was shocked twice until I regained a pulse, but I didn't regain consciousness," she said. "If it wasn't for the actions by those at the scene, I wouldn't have made it to the hospital."

After waking up from a coma - and suffering from short term memory loss - Ms Calabria was shocked to discover she had been diagnosed with a rare cardiac genetic syndrome called Brugada Syndrome, a condition that causes a disruption of the heart's normal rhythm.

"The syndrome has a 50 per cent chance of being passed down to either one or both of my beautiful kids," she said.

"I have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator installed in my chest that will protect me from any further potential episodes leading to a possible cardiac arrest."

"It's the access to a defibrillator in those first few minutes that can mean the difference between saving or losing a life."

Grant Fraser from Victoria owes his life to prompt action by his mates and ambulance officers with a defibrillator.
Grant Fraser from Victoria owes his life to prompt action by his mates and ambulance officers with a defibrillator.

Grant Fraser, 57, from Wallington, Victoria owes his life to prompt action by his mates and ambulance officers with a defibrillator.

While on a fishing trip with friends on October 2017, Mr Fraser finished his steak dinner and then collapsed. His friends rushed to his aid and kept him alive until the ambulance arrived moments later.

A defibrillator was used to return the normal rhythm to Mr Fraser's heart before he was taken to Ballarat Hospital where he underwent a stent operation.

"One of my arteries was completely blocked which caused me to pass out," he said. "If I didn't get immediate help from a defibrillator, I'd be dead within minutes."

Queensland mother Angela Lewis claims she had been dead for 12 minutes after a sudden cardiac arrest.
Queensland mother Angela Lewis claims she had been dead for 12 minutes after a sudden cardiac arrest.

A Queensland mother claims she was dead for 12 minutes after a sudden cardiac arrest.

Angela Lewis, 40, from Laidley, was working as a Toll team member at the Coles distribution centre in Forest Lake when she collapsed in January this year.

She was then given CPR and shocked several times with a defibrillator by a trained Coles employee until the ambulance arrived.

"I'm grateful to be alive and that my son still has a mother," Ms Lewis said. "He saw me unconscious at the hospital and it affected him just days before he started school - which I missed."

"Now living with an implantable defibrillator in my chest, I'm lucky to watch my son grow up, and thankful that Coles had a defibrillator on-site."

Tyler Bennett from South Australia suffered a cardiac arrest while playing a footy match last year and was saved using a defibrillator.
Tyler Bennett from South Australia suffered a cardiac arrest while playing a footy match last year and was saved using a defibrillator.

Last May, young Tyler Bennett suffered a sudden cardiac arrest during a friendly footy match.

The then 17-year-old from Parra Hills West in South Australia was playing for the under 18s Tea Tree Gully District Football Club when he collapsed and fell into an induced coma.

He was shocked with a defibrillator by the club's first-aid team before ambulance rushed Tyler to the Royal Adelaide Hospital where they inserted an implantable defibrillator in his chest.

"I don't remember much of what happened," Mr Bennett, now 18 said. "People were telling me that my face was completely blue when I collapsed. I showed no early symptoms."

Mr Bennett believes his incident had reiterated the need for clubs to install their own defibrillators.

"Most football clubs didn't have a defibrillator on-site. I was lucky mine did," he said. "Now, other footy clubs are installing them."

"A defibrillator is one of those things many of us don't see as a priority until it's too late."