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New heart-starter installed in Ouyen

June 17, 2024 | in Community News

Ouyen has welcomed its fourth 24/7 publicly accessible automated external defibrillator (AED) in a huge boost to the community’s ability to respond to a cardiac arrest. 

AEDs are automated devices used to attempt to shock the heart back into rhythm following a cardiac arrest and can be used by anyone – they do not require training. 

The new AED is located at the Ouyen Men’s Shed (26 Rowe St, Ouyen). 

Ambulance Victoria (AV) Acting Mildura Paramedic Community Support Coordinator Jacob McEwan said the heart-starting device will make a big impact in increasing access to life-saving care. 

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

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

Two men standing in front of a newly installed automated external defibrillator device.

Acting Mildura Paramedic Community Support Coordinator Jacob McEwan and John from the Ouyen Men’s Shed with the new AED.

“When a patient receives CPR and a shock from an AED before paramedics arrive, their chance of survival more than doubles. 

“AEDs are safe and easy to use and will not deliver a shock unless it is necessary – simply open it and follow the instructions. 

“Every minute matters during a cardiac arrest so having more AEDs around town means bystanders and First Responders can get to them quicker during a medical emergency.” 

The new AED was funded by volunteer group Heartbeat Sunraysia, the local branch of the not-for-profit organisation who create and promote cardiac peer support groups and raise funds for cardiac equipment. 

Jacob said the group make a big difference. 

“I’ve worked closely with Heartbeat Sunraysia for the past four years and they bring a huge benefit to the region,” he said. 

“In that time, they’ve funded about a dozen AEDs right across the Mildura LGA. 

“They also donate funds for a wide range of medical equipment to support AV as well as the hospital – anything to benefit the community’s health in some way.” 

Ouyen now has 12 AEDs registered with AV – four of them publicly accessible 24 hours a day. 

Jacob urged the community to ensure all defibrillators in the town are registered with up-to-date details. 

“Having AEDs registered with AV is important so call takers can direct bystanders, GoodSAMs and First Responders to them in an emergency,” he said. 

“Individuals can also look up the ‘register my AED’ website to find their nearest publicly accessible AED and see the hours it is available.” 

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.  

Jacob said Ouyen locals should consider signing up. 

“Anyone around Victoria can become a GoodSAM responder,” he said. 

“You don’t need a medical background – you just have to be willing and able to do CPR, be over 18 years of age and have access to a smartphone.” 

Learn more about GoodSAM and AED locations.