Nathalia Welcomes Lifesaving Addition

The Nathalia community is now better equipped to help those in cardiac arrest after a publicly accessible automated external defibrillator (AED) was gifted as part of the town’s Heart Safe Community program.

The program is a year-long, joint initiative between Ambulance Victoria (AV) and the Heart Foundation, which equips communities across the state with the skills to take life-saving action when someone suffers a cardiac arrest.

Nathalia’s new 24/7 AED is located at the Nathalia Community House, 17 Harcourt Street, after being installed by the local Men’s Shed.

Two females, one paramedic and the other community house manager, is seen holding an automated external defibrillator device.

Nathalia Community House Manager, Edwina Fieldman and AV Paramedic and Nathalia Heart Safe Community Program Lead, Anita Stirling show off the town’s new publicly accessible AED.

AV Paramedic and Nathalia Heart Safe Community Program Lead, Anita Stirling, said the new AED was an important health boost for the town.

“AEDs are used to shock the heart back into rhythm following a cardiac arrest – which is when a person’s heart suddenly stops beating,” she said.

“Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anytime, and only one in 10 people will survive.

“Bystander intervention makes a big difference – when a patient in cardiac arrest receives CPR and a shock from an AED before paramedics arrive, their chance of survival more than doubles.”

Ms Stirling said locals and visitors should feel confident using an AED regardless of whether they had received training.

“If someone is in cardiac arrest and an AED is available, simply open it and follow the instructions,” she said.

“They are safe and easy to use and will not deliver a shock unless it is necessary.”

Ms Stirling encouraged all community members to make sure their AEDs were registered with AV, to ensure Triple Zero (000) call-takers can direct people to them in an emergency.

There are 30 Heart Safe Communities across the state, and Nathalia is one of 12 towns currently completing the program.

Ms Stirling said the program aims to give locals the confidence to assist fellow community members in a medical emergency.

“Anyone can save a life in three simple steps: Call (call Triple Zero 000), Push (perform CPR) and Shock (use an AED),” she said.

“The more people that know what to do in an emergency, the more lives can be saved.”

Heart Foundation Victorian General Manager Chris Enright said the partnership with AV continues to help raise awareness and teach people what to do in cardiac arrest.

“We know how effective our Heart Safe Community program can be and how important it is for the local community to drive it to embed change at a grassroots level,” she said.

“Ultimately, we hope every Victorian community can be ‘Heart Safe’.”

Ms Stirling also encouraged people to sign up to the GoodSAM app, which 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.

“You don’t have to be first aid qualified or have a medical background, you just need to be willing and able to do hands-only CPR, be over 18 years of age and have access to a smartphone,” she said.

A free Call, Push, Shock session will be held at the Nathalia Community House on Thursday, 23 May from 10am to 12pm.

/Public Release. View in full here.