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New Heart Safe Communities equipped to save lives

September 7, 2023 | in News

Minutes matter in a cardiac arrest and 11 more towns across Victoria are now better prepared to save lives after graduating as Heart Safe Communities.

The Heart Safe Community program was launched in 2019 and aims to improve survival rates for people in cardiac arrest by teaching locals how to perform CPR and use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

It is a joint initiative between Ambulance Victoria (AV) and the Heart Foundation.

There are now 29 Heart Safe Communities across the state, following the recent graduation of Coleraine, Lismore, Longwarry, Yallourn North, Trentham, Hopetoun, Chiltern, Violet Town, Dunolly, Stanhope and Kinglake.

As a result of the latest additions:

  • Average GoodSAM Responder availability increased by 18 people per day.
  • Registered Public AEDs increased by 21 (10 of these are 24/7 accessible).
  • More than 112 community education sessions were held, with 2,458 community members engaged.

Hume Regional and Clinical Operations Director Narelle Capp said the program helps community members feel confident to take action in someone’s time of need.

“Currently about 20 Victorians suffer a cardiac arrest each day and only one in 10 survive,” she said.

“Bystander CPR and use of an AED increases a patient’s chance of survival by more than 70 per cent.

“Anyone can save a life in three simple steps. Call, Push, Shock: Call Triple Zero (000), Push Hard, Push Fast on the middle of the chest, Shock using an AED.”

Heart Foundation Victorian General Manager Chris Enright said the partnership with AV continues to help raise awareness and teach people what to do in cardiac arrest. 

“We know how effective our Heart Safe Community program can be and how important it is for the local community to drive it to embed change at a grassroots level,” she said.

“Ultimately, we hope every Victorian community can be ‘Heart Safe’.”

In August, 12 new towns started the program: Warracknabeal, St Arnaud, Heywood, Winchelsea, Meeniyan, Metung, Monbulk, Bulla, Heathcote, Lake Boga, Tallangatta and Nathalia.