When Countdown provided Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to all of its 183 supermarkets across New Zealand last year, they had little idea that four Kiwi families would be able to see their loved ones again as a result.

With more than three million customers visiting Countdown supermarkets every week, the reality is that medical events do happen in, or near, supermarkets.  Countdown rolled out easy to use, step-by-step voice instructed AED machines to all its stores, and also committed to having a fully-trained first aider rostered on every shift.

On several occasions, the AED machines were deployed and Countdown’s team have come to the aid of customers requiring assistance in their stores. AEDs have also been utilised by the members of the public and surrounding businesses.  Countdown’s AED machines were on hand to help health workers administer first aid at a COVID testing centre and in Silverdale, a further life was saved with the help of Countdown’s AED near the scene.

Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s General Manager for Safety, says they hadn’t imagined the AEDs would have the impact they did so quickly, providing life-saving access where first aiders and the machines were able to save lives.

“It’s incredibly humbling to know that our team and AEDs have been able to provide help for four New Zealanders when they absolutely needed it  the most,” says Kiri Hannifin.  “Saving one life would have been a fantastic outcome after year one, but saving four lives has really made our year. 

New Zealand Red Cross is delighted that Countdown’s initiative to provide an AED in every store has led to lives being saved, and wants more Kiwis to know that the life-saving machines are available in every community around the country.

 “More than 2000 people are treated every year in New Zealand for cardiac arrest. Sadly, of which only 14 per cent survive.  For every minute without CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) or treatment from an AED, a person’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest decreases by about 10 per cent,” says Marcus Bird, New Zealand Red Cross’ National Products Manager.

“With more than 2000 cardiac arrests happening every year in New Zealand, there is a very high chance that the machines will need to be used over the summer. We want people to know there are AEDs in their community, including at Countdown,” says Bird.

Locate your closest AED by downloading the app: ‘AED Locations’ from Google Play or the App Store. 

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