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Lake Boga welcomes new heart starter

May 14, 2024 | in Community News

Residents and visitors in Lake Boga are in a safer position in case of a cardiac arrest, with a new publicly accessible automated external defibrillator (AED) being installed at the Lake Boga Caravan Park. 

The heart-starting device will be located on the opposite side of the lake to the caravan park office, at the toilet block for Lake Boga campgrounds 501-523. 

It will be the first AED located on that side of the lake and will be available around the clock in case of a medical emergency. 

Ambulance Victoria (AV) paramedic Holly Latter said the AED is set to be an important resource for residents and holidaymakers alike. 

“AEDs are used to attempt to shock the heart back into rhythm following a cardiac arrest,” she said.

Two female paramedics and a man, who is the owner of Lake Boga Caravan Park, are standing beside an Ambulance Victoria vehicle parked beside Lake Boga. The female paramedic is holding the new automated external defibrillator device and the man is holding the outer display casing for the device.

AV paramedics Holly Latter and Alyce Wood present the new AED to Lake Boga Caravan Park owner Jason Stevens.

“Cardiac arrest happens when a person’s heart suddenly stops beating and it can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. 

“Minutes matter in a cardiac arrest and the sooner a person receives cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation from an AED, the better their chances of survival. 

“The location of this new AED increases access to life saving equipment for tourists and locals, in case of a medical emergency at the holiday park, at a nearby home or around the lake.” 

About 20 Victorians suffer a cardiac arrest every day and only one in 10 survive. 

The new AED is part of a targeted effort to improve cardiac arrest survival in Lake Boga, with the town part of the Heart Safe Communities initiative. 

The program is a year-long, joint initiative between AV and the Heart Foundation, which works to equip communities across the state with the skills to take life-saving action when someone suffers a cardiac arrest. 

It focuses on giving locals the confidence to save a life by using three simple steps: Call (call Triple Zero 000), Push (perform CPR) and Shock (use an AED). 

“The new AED at the caravan park has been donated by AV as part of Lake Boga’s Heart Safe Communities program,” Ms Latter said. 

“It’s one of a number of steps we’ve taken to help the local community be prepared to help each other in case of a cardiac arrest.” 

That includes several Call Push Shock training sessions, which AV ran with the support of Lake Boga community member Sue Donnelly. 

“Sue has been a huge help in the Heart Safe Communities project,” Ms Latter said. 

“She helped us organise the Call, Push, Shock sessions and shared her contacts to help us reach more community groups. 

“She is a lovely woman that is extremely committed to her community.” 

Ms Latter said another focus of the Heart Safe Communities program has been encouraging locals to sign up as GoodSAM responders. 

“GoodSAM is a life-saving smartphone app that connects Victorians in cardiac arrest with members of the community who are willing to start CPR in the critical minutes before paramedics arrive,” she said. 

“You don’t have to have to be first-aid qualified or have a medical background to sign up – you just need to be willing and able to do hands-only CPR, be over 18 years of age and have access to a smartphone.” 

Lake Boga resident Greg Edwards has been a GoodSAM responder since the app launched in the town. 

The former truck driver always had an interest in first aid, learning about it in scouts and the army reserve, then putting the skills to use both in his career and as a volunteer. 

“As a truck driver, I unfortunately came across a lot of accidents where I was able to use my first aid knowledge,” Mr Edwards said. 

“I also did volunteer first aid for a lot of local sporting events and ceremonies. 

“I used to live next door to someone from the Swan Hill ambulance branch and he told me about GoodSAM when it was starting up here – so as soon as it did, I signed up.” 

Mr Edwards said he is motivated by a desire to give back to the community. 

“I always believed life can’t be a take-take situation – everyone’s got to give something back,” he said. 

“And the gift of life’s always a good one.” 

Visit GoodSAM for more information.