Woolworths supermarket shoppers will soon have access to defibrillators in all stores across Australia, in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.
The supermarket has installed its first Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in Sydney and is set to have 500 stores completed by the end of June.
Stores located in rural and regional communities, or areas where it may be hard to access a medical site, will be the first priority.
All stores have a first aid responder who will be trained in operating the AED. The AED is also designed to be used by anyone, with clear step-by-step voice instructions that can guide members of the public through the process.
The Heart Foundation welcomes the initiative and to train its team members in how to use them.
"There are up to 15,000 cardiac arrests each year in Australia, and around 10,000 people die from it," Heart Foundation's Group chief executive, Adjunct Professor, John Kelly said.
"We know that for every minute without CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) or treatment with an AED to restart the heart, your chances of surviving a cardiac arrest go down by 10 per cent.
"After 10 minutes without it, there is little chance of survival at all. For people who have a cardiac arrest outside hospital, the survival rate is only 10 per cent.
"The Heart Foundation strongly encourages the placement of AEDs in all spaces where people gather in any numbers, and the training of people to use the defibrillators. We welcome this community-minded action."
Woolworths Managing Director, Claire Peters, says the cardiac statistics are troubling, so the supermarket wanted to help.
"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," she said.
"The best medical advice tells us that access to an AED early on can greatly increase the chance of survival.
"AEDs are designed to be easy to use and will be available to any members of the public in the event of an emergency."
The Liberal government also recently announced it would provide $1 million to fund defibrillators in caravan parks and camping sites.
The partnership with Caravan Industry Association of Australia means about 1000 parks in Australia will be given funding.