Longwarry’s new lifesaver

From left, Drouin paramedic Nathan Marchant, Baw Baw community support coordinator Ross Salathiel, Longwarry Friendly Grocer John Proposch and Drouin District Community Bank''s board chair Rod Dunlop and branch manager Rob Hutchinson.

By Mitchell Clarke

A new 24-hour publicly accessible defibrillator has been installed in Longwarry.

Fitted outside the Longwarry Friendly Grocer supermarket on Kennedy Street, the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is the 23rd device in the district funded by the Drouin and District Community Bank.

The new AED, which is kept in alarmed cabinets, is able to be used to shock the heart back into rhythm following a cardiac arrest.

Ambulance Victoria paramedic community support coordinator (PCSC) Ross Salathiel said Longwarry residents were in safer hands with the new defibrillator, adding it would make a real difference in the community.

Mr Salathiel said anyone could use the AEDs, regardless of whether they have received training.

“Simply open it up and follow the instructions. It is safe and will not allow a shock to be given unless necessary,” he explained.

He said bystanders played a “critical first link” in the chain of survival and could keep patients alive until highly-trained paramedics arrived on scene.

“Cardiac arrest happens when a person’s heart suddenly stops beating and it can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere,” Mr Salathiel said.

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

The defibrillators have been registered on the Ambulance Victoria website, which allows Triple Zero call-takers to direct people to the nearest device in a medical emergency.

Five brand new 24-hour publicly accessible life-saving devices have been installed across the Baw Baw Shire, which were funded by donations through various community groups.

“We are so grateful for the fundraising efforts of local groups who have helped make these AEDs a reality,” Mr Salathiel added.

Other defibrillators are located at the Yarragon Lions Op Shop and the Ellinbank Football Club.

If your community is interested in fundraising for an AED, or you have one that isn’t accessible or registered, please call the PCSC phone for help on 0438 796 835.

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