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Defib in Your Community

The St John CBR NightCrew is a collaborative initiative between local government and industry to help people have a safer night out in Canberra. Managed and run by St John Ambulance ACT and staffed by trained volunteers, the program uses a harm minimisation approach to help people avoid being robbed or assaulted in Canberra City on a night out.

A publicly accessible defibrillator at every local shops in Canberra


Do you know where the closest defibrillator is in your community? Would you know what to do if a friend or family member had a sudden cardiac arrest?

More than 30,000 cardiac arrests happen each year in Australia. It has an incredibly high death rate – 90% will die in just minutes. Only 1% of all victims will be lucky enough to be defibrillated. It is a well-established fact that survival rates improve when a patient receives defibrillation within the first 10 minutes of arrest. 

This is why St John Ambulance ACT has launched the “Defib in Your Community” campaign to help local communities fund a life-saving, publicly accessible defibrillator (defib). 

We are approaching local shopping centres in the ACT that have not yet installed a defibrillator and are asking shop owners and the community to help fund a defib to be purchased, installed and maintained by our professional St John Ambulance ACT team. 


During cardiac arrest, the heart stops pumping blood suddenly and an invisible countdown begins from about 10 minutes. If no CPR is provided and no defibrillator is applied during those 10 minutes, the patient may not survive.  


The only treatment for a heart in cardiac arrest is for it to be de-fibrillated, this allows for it to be shocked by an electric current to start beating correctly again. You could wait for an ambulance to arrive, however in 2022-23, the average ambulance response time for a cardiac arrest, was 16.8 minutes. The only way to reach the 70% survival rate already achieved in some parts of the world is to have defibrillators nearby, ideally within 2 minutes. 

Without a defibrillator arriving in the first 10 minutes, even if you keep doing CPR, the chance of survival on CPR alone is minimal. Which is why our ambitious goal is for 50% of sudden cardiac arrest patients to receive defibrillation. We can only achieve this if more defibrillators are available in the community. Every workplace, every sporting club and every public place should have a defibrillator nearby. 


Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are remarkably easy to use. Once activated, the AED delivers clear voice instructions to guide users through each step of defibrillation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). These devices give your community the best chance to save your life or the life of someone you love.