Learn vital CPR and AED skills

By Benalla Ensign

Ambulance Victoria, in association with the Benalla Lions Club and the Ensign, are running a community education night in Benalla tonight (May 27).

Ambulance Victoria Benalla acting team manager Clint Hick will present the interactive information session, covering a range of life-saving procedures.

Those include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to access and use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

He will also provide information about Ambulance Victoria’s lifesaving GoodSAM application.

Mr Hick said a cardiac arrest occurred when a person’s heart suddenly stops beating.

‘‘A person in cardiac arrest will collapse and stop breathing normally and should receive CPR immediately,’’ Mr Hick said.

‘‘Cardiac arrest can occur without warning. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat called an arrhythmia.’’

Minutes matter in cardiac arrest and the sooner a person receives CPR and the application of an AED, the better their chances of survival.

‘‘Performing CPR is extremely important if someone has a cardiac arrest, as CPR enables blood to continue pumping to vital organs, such as the brain, before an ambulance arrives,’’ Mr Hick said.

‘‘Bystanders are the critical first link in the chain of survival and can help keep patients alive before our highly-trained paramedics are on scene.

‘‘Any CPR is better than no CPR, so we would encourage the community to call Triple Zero for an ambulance and start CPR.

‘‘The Triple Zero call-taker will provide instructions on how to do this. If someone has a cardiac arrest, an AED can check the heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock to the heart in an attempt to restore a normal rhythm.

‘‘An AED is a lightweight, battery operated, portable device. You may have already seen AEDs in places you visit every day, including shopping centres, sporting clubs, gyms, or even your workplace.

‘‘Anyone can use an AED. You don’t need training. If someone is in cardiac arrest and an AED is available then simply open it and follow the instructions.

‘‘They are safe to use and will not allow a shock to be given unless necessary.’’

In addition to CPR and using an AED, Ambulance Victoria’s GoodSAM program aims to provide rapid assistance to patients in those first critical minutes of cardiac arrest, while paramedics are on the way.

‘‘The GoodSAM app was introduced in 2018 by Ambulance Victoria and so far approximately 5000 people have registered as responders,’’ Mr Hick said.

‘‘GoodSAM is an application that can be installed on a mobile phone. While GoodSAM responders are not always available to assist, they have been available to provide potentially lifesaving care in more than 250 cases.’’

At the community information night, participants will have the opportunity to learn and practice CPR and AED application in small groups.

●The demonstration will take place at Benalla Town Hall on Monday, May 27. Please arrive at 6.45pm for a 7pm start.

RSVP to Graham Milner (Benalla Lions Club) on 0417367020 if you would like to attend.

●In an emergency, phone 000.