On average, one person a day in the Grampians region suffers a cardiac arrest. But only one in 10 people who suffer a cardiac arrest outside hospital survive.
Ballarat MICA paramedic Mark Brown wants to at least double that survival rate and is spearheading a push to get more accessible defibrillators in to the community and to increase the number of people who can do CPR.
"Defibrillation and CPR increases survivability by 70 per cent just by themselves. The more defibrillators there are in the community, the easier it is for people to access," he said.
Mr Brown said there were more defibrillators in Ballarat that publicly registered and he was keen for all of the devices to be registered so more lives could be saved.
Ambulance Victoria's GoodSAM app directs trained responders to patients suffering cardiac arrest and alerts them of the nearest available defibrillator. At the same time the closest ambulance is also sent and, in some parts of Victoria, the fire brigade is also dispatched.
Because survival rates drop for every minute a cardiac arrest patient does not receive CPR and defibrillation, nearby responders arriving even minutes before paramedics can make a big difference to the outcome.
During the first COVID lockdown there was a 50 per cent decline in cardiac arrest survival rates so Ambulance Victoria has launched the Shocktober campaign.
"We are on a mission to make the month of October one that equips all 6.7 million Victorians with the know-how to do basic CPR and to locate their nearest Automated External Defibrillator (AED)," said Ambulance Victoria chief executive Associate Professor Tony Walker. "We know that bystander intervention has the greatest impact on improving that survival rate."
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Ambulance Victoria is donating 100 AEDs to communities throughout the state, including Cardigan Village, which will be available for the public to use 24/7.
Several towns in the region including Clunes and Smythesdale are designated as Heart Safe Communities where AEDs are easily available and a large number of people have been trained in CPR.
Because of COVID, face to face CPR training has been suspended but there is a Call Push Shock Facebook Live session to teach CPR and how to use an AED which will run on Thursday at 7pm ahead of Restart a Heart Day on Friday.