Hundreds of Victorians had a hands-on practice at saving a life yesterday and thousands more received a lifesaving message as Restart a Heart Day was held in Australia for the first time.
Originating in Europe, the Restart a Heart campaign was championed by Ambulance Victoria on Tuesday 18 October through a number of public demonstrations by paramedics and Ambulance Community Officers (ACOs) across the state.
The campaign, which aims to teach people that early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) can save a life in the event of a cardiac arrest, encouraged people to have a go at performing CPR on training mannequins.
The campaign #restartaheart engaged online throughout the day, with more than 120,000 people via Ambulance Victoria’s Facebook page and a further 32,500 people through Ambulance Victoria’s Twitter feed (@AmbulanceVic).
Footage of Ambulance Victoria’s support of the event also went international, with Ambulance Victoria’s partnership with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service in the UK leading to a special video message, prepared by Ambulance Victoria, being viewed at the launch of the Restart a Heart Day proceedings in the UK.
On Restart a Heart Day, Ambulance Victoria spread the lifesaving message across Victoria through public demonstrations, including:
A public demonstration was held in Terminal 4 from 9:30am to 12noon with more than 100 people stopping to have a go at CPR on training mannequins and 65 people observing.
Parkdale – Parktone Primary School
Paramedics took the lifesaving lesson into the classroom and hosted a workshop which taught more than 50 students how to perform CPR and use an AED. The students were also part of a video which was sent to the Yorkshire Ambulance Service in the UK and viewed at the launch of their own Restart a Heart Day campaign.
Clunes – Clunes Primary School
More than 20 Grades 5 and 6 students participated in a two day workshop, with students learning what to do in a medical emergency including calling Triple Zero (000), performing CPR and using an AED. The students then went on to teach 22 of their parents and guardians how to perform CPR and use an AED.
Paramedics and ACOs walked through Beechworth distributing resources and encouraging more than 80 locals, with some learning how to perform CPR on training mannequins.
Paramedics from Warragul and Drouin conducted CPR training on mannequins in the heart of the town. More than 100 Restart a Heart Day showbags were handed out to passers-by, including CPR training ‘hearts’ and CPR training pillowcases.
Paramedics and ACOs engaged in more than 20 conversations throughout their morning demonstration, with more than 10 people having a go at performing CPR on a training mannequin.
More than 20 residents aged 9 to 65 participated in an evening workshop held at the Bunyip Primary School library to teach people how to perform CPR and use an AED.
Ambulance Victoria Acting Group Manager Michelle Murphy said paramedics attended more than 5500 cardiac arrest cases every year and it was vital that members of the public knew how to perform CPR and use an AED.
‘Learning CPR could help save the life of someone you know and love,’ Ms Murphy said.
The bystanders response in those first few minutes can make all the difference.
‘It was so inspiring to see so many members of the students and members of the public taking part in the Restart a Heart campaign.
‘Ambulance Victoria would like to thank all our operational and community education staff, along with EMR and first responders who participated in our many public demonstrations across Victoria.
‘This inaugural Australian awareness campaign aligned with the UK and European Restart a Heart Day this year, making the goal of improving survival from out of hospital cardiac arrest an international mission.
‘In the event of someone having a cardiac arrest, every minute that early CPR or use of an AED is delayed a person’s chance of survival decreases by 10 per cent.
‘It doesn’t matter where you learn, we’re just encouraging everyone to make sure that they know how to perform CPR and use an AED, because you never know when it just might save someone’s life.’