The Heart Safe Community initiative aims to improve survival rates for people suffering cardiac arrest across Victoria by teaching community members how to perform CPR and use an AED when others need it most. This is a joint initiative between Ambulance Victoria and the Heart Foundation.
The program aims to:
- Raise community awareness of cardiac arrest
- Promote the role of Triple Zero (000) in a cardiac emergency
- Teach people CPR skills and how to use a defibrillator
- Identify and register existing defibrillators
- Install and register new defibrillators
- promote and educate on the use of smart phone technologies, like GoodSAM
Where are they located?
Heart Safe Communities can be found in Tatura, Inverloch, and the Bellarine Peninsula.
Other Heart Safe Communities are located in Rosedale, Mallacoota, Euroa, Beechworth, Healesville, Red Hill, Port Fairy, Terang, Camperdown, Queenscliff, Murtoa, Clunes, Smythesdale, Boort, Donald, Robinvale and Murrayville.
In 2022, we are also welcoming Coleraine, Lismore, Trentham, Hopetoun, Dunolly, Stanhope, Kinglake, Bacchus Marsh, Chiltern, Violet Town, Longwarry and Yallourn North.
Heart Safe Community locations are selected based on the following:
- ambulance demand
- number of cardiac arrests
- rates of bystander CPR
- number of publicly accessible AEDs
- population and demographics
- access to health care
- community capacity and readiness to engage
Does it work?
The success of the program was evident on Christmas Day 2018, when Tatura had its first survival story as a result of the program. Local paramedic Ben Johansen attended the cardiac arrest of David Hughes, where bystander Andrea Manners was performing CPR. Andrea had learned CPR during a Heart safe Community session months prior. Because of the Andrea’s actions on that day, David is now back at work having made a full recovery. Watch David’s incredible story and the success that Tatura have had as Victoria’s first Heart Safe Community.
Melbourne University evaluated the initiative and the overall findings demonstrated that the pilot sites built local community capacity to respond to out of hospital cardiac arrest as demonstrated by increased community knowledge, confidence and skills to call 000, attempt chest compressions and acquire and use an AED. You can read the report in full online.
We know that lives have been saved, and more will be saved, because of this initiative. We are committed to working with more communities across Victoria to improve out of hospital cardiac arrests survival rates.