A NEW Ambulance Tasmania program launched yesterday will give everyday Tasmanians the opportunity to save lives.
The early access to defibrillation program is an Australian first, linking community-owned defibrillators to the triple-0 emergency network.
Chief executive Dominic Morgan said Ambulance Tasmania would keep a database of registered owners in the community, so that when a triple-0 call was made for cardiac arrest, the computer would list any nearby defibrillators.
``We'll send a talking text or a voice-recorded telephone call to say that their defibrillator's required up the road,'' he said.
Mr Morgan said about 650 Tasmanians had a cardiac arrest out of hospital last year, with some dying long before paramedics arrived.
He said shocking the heart in the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest was the key to survival.
``Basically for every minute of cardiac arrest your chances of survival deteriorate by about 7 to 10 per cent,'' Mr Morgan said.
In the nine months to March 31, 2014, the average ambulance response time was 11.4 minutes.
Mr Morgan said that while AT deployed about 50 defibrillators each day in its ambulances, he believed there were about 500 in the community.
``If you look at that in context, that's . . . the potential to deploy defibrillators tenfold to what we currently do,'' he said.
Mr Morgan said that the automatic external defibrillators were designed for anyone to pick them up and use safely, with the machine talking the user through the situation.
``This is a genuine innovation that has the real likelihood and opportunity to save lives in this state,'' Mr Morgan said.
For more information or to register call 1300 979 057 and ask for a registration pack, or download a form from www.ambulance.tas.gov.au/EADP.