A Caloundra personal trainer has recalled the day she watched a man die after he went into cardiac arrest while exercising at Kings Beach.
A Caloundra personal trainer has recalled the day she watched a man die after he went into cardiac arrest while exercising at Kings Beach. John McCutcheon

'It can happen anywhere': trainer's defibrillator plea

AS NEWS of a Sunshine Coast woman lucky to be alive after she went into cardiac arrest spreads, one local personal trainer can't forget the day a man couldn't be saved.

Jill Lowry watched a man die after he had a heart attack in the middle of a group training session at Kings Beach in 2017.

She says if a defibrillator was available nearby, the man might still be here today.

After a quick warm-up for the nearby group's evening workout, the middle-aged man collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.

"People were giving him CPR and someone was on the phone to the ambulance, so I just ran around looking for a defib," Ms Lowry said.

"There wasn't a lot around."

She approached several businesses to ask for an AED machine but was unsuccessful.

The man died at the scene.

"It was pretty full on," she said.

"It was really scary and hard to know what to do. You never know if having access to a defib would have saved him or not, but you just want to try and do everything you can."

Twenty-one-year-old Emily Counter was lucky that Anytime Fitness Noosa had a defibrillator on scene when she went into sudden cardiac arrest due to an extremely rare underlying heart condition.

Emily Counter's cardiac arrest at Noosa gym:

Queensland Ambulance Service clinical support officer Chris Beadnell said if people had access to a defibrillator within the first 20-30 seconds of cardiac arrest or heart attack, their chances of survival were about 80 to 90 per cent.

"The longer your heart stops, the more damage that happens to your body," he said

"If no defib is available ... that's coming to the area of really poor viability of survival."

Ms Lowry said all businesses should have access to defibrillators.

"Exercising increases your risk, but it's not the only circumstance that you're going to have a heart attack," she said.

"It can happen any time, anywhere.

"The more people that have defibs, the more people that know how to use them, the more lives that are going to get saved."

Emily Counter has thanked the people who saved her life after she went into cardiac arrest from an underlying heart condition at a Noosa gym.
A group of men have been praised for their efforts after they jumped into action to save Emily Counter's life as she went into sudden cardiac arrest at Anytime Fitness Noosa. Contributed

As a personal trainer, Ms Lowry is trained in first aid, which she says is vital for knowing how to handle situations like those.

"I feel like everyone should have first aid training," she said.

"You don't know until you're in the position how you're going to react.

"The thought process of 'someone's already resuscitating them, someone's called the ambulance, what can I do to help without getting in the way?'"

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Mr Beadnell said while many businesses and community groups across Queensland had defibrillators at the premises, extending that reach would make a huge difference.

"I do believe that as a public health initiative it would be a really good thing to have defibrillators available everywhere within the community," he said.

"However that comes out ... if the end goal is that we have more access to defibs, the more chances there is to save lives."