Topic: Health

St John and marae team up to save lives

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Auckland

As part of the Three Steps initiative St John has launched a Marae Cardiac Arrest Programme today to better equip communities to respond to  cardiac emergencies. Thirty marae throughout the country will get support training in CPR and access to defibrillators in an effort that aims to help save 500 lives each year.

CPR one of three easy steps that could save someone's life.

Makaurau Marae’s Paula Roberts says "there's a lot of people that don't actually - unless a job requires it they don't go out and get their First Aid certificate so they're unfamiliar with CPR.”

The Three Steps for Life programme is designed to give people confidence and awareness to take action when somebody suffers a cardiac arrest by 1) Calling 111; 2) Starting CPR; and 3) Using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

"We actually lost a kaumatua [elders] and kuia earlier this year, a brother and a sister actually, one to cardiac arrest,” Roberts says.

"That was quite devastating we have though in the past had kaumatua that have actually come to tangi [funerals] here from marae afar that have just collapsed and died."

St John’s officer John Takere says "Māori have a higher incidence to cardiac disease due to prevalence of smoking diabetes obesity lifestyle choices basically."

Last year a St. John's Report showed more than 60 percent of cardiac arrests occured at home and nearly a fifth in public. St. John says it's vital family members and bystanders can take immediate action.

Roberts says "having our whanau [families] learn it to have the confidence that if it happens that they know exactly what to do.”

Takere agrees, "anything they do before we get there if they get the CPR going and they've got access to AEDs and they get them and use them the chances of survival greatly increase."

St John aims to deliver the free hour-long Three Steps programme to at least 5,000 people over the next year so if sports team or community group is interested visit the St John website Three Steps for Life page to make a booking.