December 8th, 2022Defibrillator signage for Clunes, a state first
Words and Image: Eve Lamb
CLUNES has achieved a state first, getting public signposts installed to highlight the location of every public defibrillator in the town.
The woman behind the heart-warming, and potentially
life-saving, achievement is Deb Bright, coordinator of the
town’s neighbourhood house and also a GoodSAM.
Ambulance Victoria’s GoodSAM (Smartphone Activated
Medic) program connects local volunteer responders to
patients in the first critical minutes of cardiac arrest while
paramedics are on the way.
Deb says GoodSAM is a free global smartphone app that
alerts several volunteer GoodSAM responders to someone
nearby in cardiac arrest.
It can – and in Clunes it has already – make the critical
difference as it’s known that for every minute a patient
doesn’t get CPR/defibrillation, their chances of survival fall
by 10 per cent.
Deb is one of several GoodSAMs in Clunes and after
recently learning of a South Australian initiative where
physical signposts have been installed to point out AED
locations, she approached Hepburn Shire Council to see if
something similar could be done in her own town.
To her delight, the shire came through, and as a result in
recent weeks multiple signposts have been installed helpfully
pointing the way to each of the town’s five public AEDs
(Automated External Defibrillators).
“We’re lucky in Clunes that we have five AEDs that are
available for members of the public to access 24/7,” Deb says.
“They are at the town’s supermarket, here at the
neighbourhood house, at the bowling club, the golf club and the medical centre.
“The signs have now gone in outside all of the locations of the publicly available AEDs and they point in the direction of the nearest defibrillator. They just went in in recent weeks and I can tell you that they’re already being noticed.”
Deb said the town would love to have some more GoodSAMs.
“The only thing you need to become a GoodSAM is a willingness to respond when you are alerted to a cardiac incident, and knowledge of basic CPR.”
Deb says there had been multiple cardiac arrest incidents in Clunes over the past few years, some of which she has personally attended in her capacity as a GoodSAM.
“Statistically we know that use of a defibrillator in those first critical moments can increase your chance of surviving by 72 percent,” she says.
Deb says seeing the new signposts go in has been very rewarding and she is now keen to see them extended to other towns throughout the shire – and beyond.
“I’d really like to see the program extended and I’ll be contacting Hepburn Shire to suggest that it is extended throughout the shire,” she says.
Local residents who think they may be able to help out and become a GoodSAM responder are encouraged to check out Ambulance Victoria’s GoodSAM website, with some local training in defibrillator use also coming up fairly soon.
“I run regular defibrillator training sessions here at the Neighbourhood House and we advertise them on our socials,” Deb says.
“We will probably start running them again in January.”