AEDs installed in Hoddles Creek and Launching Place

L-R: WYD Bendigo Bank Branch Manager Justin Hall and Chairman Peter Cownley with members of the Hoddles Creek CFA where the new AED can be found. Picture: CALLUM LUDWIG

By Callum Ludwig

The network of AEDs (automated external defibrillators) in the Upper Yarra has expanded, providing greater access in the event of a cardiac arrest.

The Hoddles Creek CFA and Launching Place Home Hotel now each have one out the front of their buildings, clearly visible and easy to access in an emergency.

1st Lieutenant at Hoddles Creek CFA Brett Kerford said it’s extremely important for both the brigade and the community.

“It’s huge for the community in that it just gives us a bit of extra security because AV (Ambulance VictoriA) is very flat out all the time and finds it difficult getting up here in a reasonable time which is very understandable these days,” HE SAID.

“Especially in communities like Hoddles Creek, Powelltown or Reefton, these sorts of things will make a difference between life and death, it’s the first 10 minutes that can be the difference between a full recovery, a life with health issues or death itself.”

The Woori Yallock and District Bendigo Bank are out to supply and install AEDs throughout the region, these being the second and third of a series of 10.

Branch Manager and Wesburn/Millgrove CFA member Justin Hall said it’s great to be able to support GoodSAM, Ambulance Victoria and local CFA’s in those minutes that really count.

“Every minute’s going to make a life-changing difference to members of our community, so we really proud to be able to support that effort,” he said.

“I’m part of GoodSAM and have responded to eight cardiac arrests in the last 12 months, every minute that someone doesn’t have access to an AED, their chance of survival decreases by 10 per cent.”

GoodSAM is an app that alerts community members with a notification when there is a cardiac arrest in their area so they can potentially be the first response and save a life. It can also provide the PIN code to access public AEDs like those recently installed, saving valuable time that otherwise would be spent on the phone to 000 asking for it. Responders or anyone who witnesses a cardiac arrest are still urged to call 000 and request an ambulance regardless of the presence of an AED.

WYD Bendigo Bank Chairman Peter Cownley said it was important to spread them around the whole community.

“We just decided to try and put them in as many places as we can where people often assemble or that are easy to access, and we are looking at sitting some in our industrial estates too,” he said.

“AEDs do actually advise people as they go forward, so you don’t actually have to know a lot about it, as long as there’s someone there in time, they can use the AEDs as it takes you through the steps that they need to do to hopefully save a life.”

Even if unsuccessful, an AED will download information that can be provided to give to treating clinicians at a hospital to provide details about the patient’s condition at the time of the event.

Owner of the Launching Place Home Hotel Neil Shankly said he thinks it’s a really good community facility to have.

“The pub’s well-known locally and we’re really pleased to be a part of it with the support of the Bendigo Bank,” he said.

“It’s certainly a resource you hope is never used but if it’s needed it’s there, and it’s certainly online as far as its location goes with GoodSAM and Ambulance Victoria.”