27 September 2023

Ambulance’s upskill pilot reaches hearts

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Twenty locations are now officially Heart Safe Communities in Victoria following the expansion of an Ambulance Victoria (AV) pilot to upskill locals across the community to save lives.

Manager of Operational Improvement at AV, David Shearer said that over the past two years the Heart Safe Community program (HSC) had been vital in building community resilience and improving out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates in the participating locations.

“The program was launched in 2019 as a pilot program with three Victorian towns selected to take part before the program expanded State-wide,” Mr Shearer said.

“The expansion of the Heart Safe Community program, a joint initiative between AV and the Heart Foundation, has built the confidence and skills in local communities so that they can step in and provide life-saving assistance if someone is in cardiac arrest,” he said.

He said the program was aimed at raising community awareness of cardiac arrest, promote the role of Triple Zero (000) in a cardiac emergency and teach people cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills such as how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED); identify and register existing defibrillators; install and register new defibrillators; and promote and educate on the use of smart phone technologies like GoodSAM App.

Mr Shearer said that while bystanders alone would never replace an ambulance service, equipping people with skills to start the chain of survival (starting chest compressions or CPR and using an AED) saved lives.

He said more than 5,000 members of the community across the HSC locations, attended one of 226 local community ‘Call Push Shock’ sessions where they were educated on CPR and how to use an AED by an AV paramedic.

“Anyone can save a life in three simple steps,” Mr Shearer said.

“Call, Push, Shock: Call Triple Zero (000), Push hard and fast on the middle of the chest, and Shock using an AED,” he said.

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