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Latest research shows Victorians are the true heroes of 2020

February 14, 2021 | in News

More Victorians than ever are stepping up to help those in need, according to the latest Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry (VACAR) Annual Report.

One of the world’s largest registries of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests has revealed that 80 percent of Victorians benefited from the early intervention of bystanders performing CPR.

Ambulance Victoria’s Chief Executive Officer Associate Professor Tony Walker said he was relieved with the report’s findings, especially after all the challenges faced in 2020.

“We were very concerned that COVID-19 would greatly impact patient outcomes and we’ve worked extremely hard to turn this statistic around,” Associate Prof. Walker said

“Only last October we launched Shocktober, the largest campaign in our service’s history, to increase the number of Victorians who know how to provide CPR and use an AED in the event of cardiac arrest.

“With every minute that CPR and the use of a defibrillator are delayed, survival drops by 10 percent.

“I welcome this year’s report which showed the second highest proportion ever of cardiac arrests defibrillated prior to ambulance arrival with 66 percent of those going home to their loved ones.”

Associate Prof. Walker said Ambulance Victoria also attended 6,761 cardiac arrests – 242 more than the previous year. Interestingly, two in three patients were male and 76 per cent occurred in the home.

“Paramedics provided care within an average of 7.7 minutes of the call to Triple Zero (000) with most patients defibrillated within 10 minutes. This is despite the pressures of putting on Personal Protective Equipment during COVID-19 and an influx of patients over last year’s busy bushfire season,” he said.

“Victoria boasts one of the best cardiac arrest survival rates in the world, and despite everything being thrown at the state last year, I’m heartened by this latest research.

“Today, we’re launching our GoodSAM app recruitment drive where we hope to see more Victorians signing up to save a life with the goal to see more people surviving cardiac arrests.”

Read the full report here.

For further information please contact:
Ambulance Victoria Media
P: (03) 9848 7343 or E:


  • Minutes matter in cardiac arrest and the sooner a person receives CPR and defibrillation, the better their chances of survival.
  • All it takes is three simple steps – Call, Push, Shock:
    1. Call Triple Zero (000);
    2. Push hard and fast in the middle of the chest; and
    3. Shock using a defibrillator (AED).
  • Ambulance Victoria maintains a registry of more than 6,500 public automated electronic defibrillators (AEDs) through the website.
  • The locations of AEDs are fed into the Triple Zero (000) system so that call takers will know if a defibrillator registered to a business, organisation or individual. Call takers will know if it’s available at the address of a cardiac arrest, or if there’s one nearby.
  • Registered responders subscribed to the GoodSAM app will receive an alert when a potential cardiac arrest is happening nearby and be notified of their nearest AED. You can download the app on your smartphone free of charge.
  • VACAR is one of the world’s largest registries of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, and one of the few that routinely follows up on survivors’ quality of life to drive improvements in patient outcomes.
  • A cardiac arrest occurs when a person’s heart suddenly stops pumping blood effectively around the body. A person in cardiac arrest will collapse and stop breathing normally and should receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack.
  • A heart attack occurs when an area of the heart is seriously deprived of blood because of a blocked vessel. The warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person but often last for at least 10 minutes and may include chest pain and shortness of breath. A heart attack can progress to a cardiac arrest without appropriate and timely treatment.
  • The chain of survival is an internationally recognised initiative aimed at maximising survival following an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The four-key links in the chain involve correct identification and early access to help, early CPR, early defibrillation and early access to advanced life support.