Woolworths will be installing Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at 500 mainly rural and regional sites around the country by June this year.
According to the company, it has already installed its first AEDs in Sydney and stores in rural communities, or areas with poor access to medical services, are the next priority.
The company says it will also have a first aid responder trained in operating the AED at all Woolworths stores.
Heart Foundation CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly welcomed the “community-minded” project, citing the annual rate of up to 15,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests with a resultant 10,000 fatalities.
With only 10% of those who have a cardiac arrest outside a hospital surviving, he said the Heart Foundation strongly encouraged AED placement in any spaces where there were large gatherings of people.
Woolworths managing director Claire Peters said that as a business with a presence in more than a thousand communities across the country, “we want to do our bit to help save lives”.
“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.
The project has been co-ordinated by Integrity Health & Safety, Australia’s first Indigenous-owned provider of work health & safety products.