• Mayor Michael Regan, General Manager of Cardiac Responder Reno Aprile, wife and daughter of cardiac victim Kirstie and Daisy D'Souza

  • Defibrillator demonstration 

  • Zapstand by Cardiac Responder installed at Melwood Oval, Forestville

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Did you know that cardiovascular disease claims one life every 15 minutes in Australia? And for every minute delay from collapse to CPR or defibrillation survival decreases by 10%?

Often symptoms are ignored and you never know where you might be when a heart attack hits.

This week saw the launch of another Zapstand pedestrian defibrillator kiosk on the Northern Beaches at Melwood Oval, Forestville.

No one is more supportive of installing these machines than local Daisy D’Souza who lost her father after having a heart-attack.

We spoke to Daisy about losing her father and her advocacy work with Cardiac Responder who created the machines.

Can you tell me a bit about what happened to your father?
Dad suffered a cardiac arrest. He was 55 and had suffered a heart attack five years earlier but according to his doctor and cardiologist, he was in good health.

He was fairly active - he loved playing soccer and insisted on playing despite frequent ankle/thigh/leg injuries and he had a great love of life, so his death was a huge shock for all of us.

There was nothing to suggest anything was wrong or out of the ordinary. In the days leading up to his death, I believe he had complained about not feeling very well but it never seemed like anything too serious and he was still happy to get up and play soccer that morning.

What are your thoughts on the Zapstand technology? 
I think the Zapstand technology is incredible - it is an amazing preventative measure that allows anyone, regardless of how medically experienced they are, to save someone's life.

Not only is it available 24/7 but the fact that it is linked to emergency services and provides clear operational instructions means you have all the tools you need to make a really big difference to someone else's life.

What do you think about Council installing them in high traffic areas?
I think it's great - I really think no bad can come of having a system like Zapstand around. The more there are around, the higher chance there is of preventing death from heart attack/cardiac arrest.

Do you think there should be more awareness about symptoms/preventative measure and what to do in an emergency situation?
I definitely think there should be more awareness about what to do in an emergency situation.

The pedestrian defibrillator system provides clear instructions about how to administer the defibrillator, I think a lot of people still feel intimidated by the idea of performing defibrillation on somebody else, and this intimidation could be offset if there were more education and training around how to use defibrillators and perform CPR if you find yourself in an emergency situation.

A few seconds of hesitation can make all the difference so I think if we normalise equipment like defibrillators it could help to ensure that people feel more comfortable and ready to act in high-stress scenarios.

And how should we go about raising awareness?
Hearing people's own personal experiences is a great way to raise awareness - my dad's death not only had a devastating impact on us, his family, but I know it also had a huge effect on his friends, colleagues and teammates.

Every time they share stories about his life, and death, it's a way of raising awareness about the importance of access to equipment like defibrillators.

I think if you're someone who has been touched by heart disease, then sharing your experience with others encourages people to learn more about prevention.

Northern Beaches Council has installed a total of six pedestrian defibrillator machines across the region to date at:

  • Millers Reserve, Manly Vale
  • Forestville War Memorial Playing Fields (Melwood Oval), Forestville
  • John Fisher Park Netball, North Curl Curl
  • Playing Fields North Narrabeen Reserve, North Narrabeen
  • Playing Fields Careel Bay
  • Plus the original installation at Cromer Park

A further two machines will be installed in the next 12 months at Lionel Watts Reserve, Frenchs Forest and Pittwater Park at Palm Beach.