Victorian towns ready to Restart a Heart
October 14, 2022Community News in
Twelve new locations have joined the Heart Safe Communities program in Victoria, a project that upskills the community to save the life of someone having a cardiac arrest.
Bacchus Marsh, Chiltern, Coleraine, Dunolly, Kinglake, Lismore, Longwarry, Trentham, Hopetoun, Stanhope, Violet Town and Yallourn North will soon join 20 other Heart Safe Communities across Victoria.
The Heart Safe Communities program aims to raise community awareness of cardiac arrest by:
- promoting the role of Triple Zero (000) in a cardiac emergency.
- teaching people cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills.
- teaching people how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).
- identifying and registering existing defibrillators.
- installing and registering new defibrillators.
- educating people about the GoodSAM (Smartphone Activated Medic) App.
Ambulance Victoria (AV) Manager of Operational Improvement David Shearer said the Heart Safe Community initiative was vital in building community resilience and improving out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates.
“The expansion of the state-wide program, a joint initiative between AV and the Heart Foundation, will build the confidence and skills in local communities to step in and provide life-saving assistance if someone is in cardiac arrest,” David said.
“Cardiac arrest happens when a person’s heart suddenly stops beating and stops pumping blood effectively around the body; it can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere.”
“While bystanders alone will never replace an ambulance service, equipping people with skills to start the chain of survival does save lives,” David said.
“Anyone can save a life in three simple steps. Call, Push, Shock: Call Triple Zero (000), Push hard and fast on the middle of the chest, and Shock using an AED.”
An AED is used to deliver a shock to help restore normal heart rhythm following a cardiac arrest.
“The use of public AEDs has nearly doubled in the last ten years; anyone can use an AED, regardless of whether they have received training to do so,” David said.
“If someone is in cardiac arrest and an AED is available, simply open it and follow the verbal instructions. They are safe and easy to use and will not deliver a shock unless it is necessary.”
Every day, around 19 Victorians suffer a cardiac arrest and sadly only 1 in 10 survive.
“That’s why we want as many people as possible to learn basic CPR and to become one of our amazing GoodSAM Responders,” David said.
GoodSAM is a life-saving app that connects patients in cardiac arrest with a nearby volunteer who is willing to start hands-on CPR while an ambulance is on the way.
Responders only receive an alert if they are close to the person in cardiac arrest. They are given the address of the patient, along with the location of the closest AED (if one is available), so that they can begin lifesaving care while an ambulance is enroute.
“Anyone can save a life by going to heartrestarter.com.au and signing up as a GoodSAM Responder today. You don’t have to have experience or a medical background, you just have to be willing and able to do hands-on CPR, be over 18 years of age and have access to a smartphone,” David said.
To celebrate Shocktober, a month-long nationally-recognised campaign aimed at improving cardiac arrest survival rates, Victoria’s 12 new Heart Safe Communities are running Call, Push, Shock information sessions throughout October.
Several events are also being held as part of the annual Restart a Heart Day global initiative (Sunday October 16), a worldwide campaign to encourage people to learn CPR and how to use an AED.
Thanks to the Heart Safe Community program, over the last two years, more than 150 AEDs were registered on the AV AED Register. Of these, 91 are accessible 24/7 by members of the public.
There are already 20 Heart Safe Community locations in Victoria. This includes three pilot sites at Tatura, Inverloch and Bellarine and 17 sites that graduated in June 2022: Rosedale, Mallacoota, Euroa, Beechworth, Healesville, Red Hill, Port Fairy, Terang, Camperdown, Queenscliff, Murtoa, Clunes, Smythesdale, Boort, Donald, Robinvale and Murrayville.
For information about AV’s Shocktober campaign visit www.ambulance.vic.gov.au/shocktober/