THE South Gippsland branch of the Heartbeat Victoria Council has generously donated an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and AED cabinet to the Ambulance Victoria Leongatha Branch.

The AED has been mounted outside the Leongatha Ambulance Branch at 13 Jeffrey Street, making it accessible to the community, including GoodSAM Responders, any time of day.

The cabinet has been secured near the front entrance and will available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will help to improve health outcomes in the local community.

An AED is used to deliver a shock to help restore normal heart rhythm following a cardiac arrest.

AV Leongatha team manager Cameron Rothnie said the new addition to the exterior of the ambulance branch would make a real difference to the community.

“A cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart suddenly stops beating and stops pumping blood effectively around the body; it can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere,” Mr Rothnie said.

“Minutes matter and the sooner a person receives Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation from an AED, the better their chances of survival.”

Leongatha’s newest defibrillator has been registered with Ambulance Victoria, which allows Triple Zero (000) call-takers to direct people to this device in a medical emergency.

Mr Rothnie said anyone could use an AED, regardless of whether they have received training to do so.

“If someone is in cardiac arrest and an AED is available, simply open it and follow the verbal instructions. “They are safe and easy to use and will not deliver a shock unless it is necessary.”

Mr Rothnie has also urged local residents to register with the GoodSAM (Smartphone Activated Medic) App.

“GoodSAM is a life-saving smartphone app that connects Victorians in cardiac arrest with responders and defibrillators in the critical minutes before paramedics arrive,” he said.

“You will only receive an alert if you are nearby to the person in cardiac arrest. You will be given the address of the patient, along with the location of the closest defibrillator (if one is available), so you can begin lifesaving care while an ambulance is on its way.”

Mr Rothnie said you don’t need to have a first-aid qualification to join the GoodSAM program.

“Anyone can save a life by downloading the GoodSAM App and knowing how to perform chest compressions or CPR. You don’t have to have experience or a medical background, you just have to be willing and able to do hands-on CPR, be over 18 years of age and have access to a smartphone,” he said.

The app was launched by Ambulance Victoria in 2018 and was opened up to the public in 2019.

Since 2018, more than 50 lives have been saved thanks to GoodSAM Responders.

So far, more than 15,000 Victorians have signed up to GoodSAM, but more responders are needed.