Heart starters are life savers

BILL Sykes is an advocate for organisations and communities having defibrillators and knowing how to use them.

Dr Sykes said that point had been endorsed by his hometown football hero, John “Shorty” Martiniello, being saved after a heart attack.

There was a defibrillator at the Rochester ground last week and trainer Athol Hann knew how to use it.

Dr Sykes, the member for Benalla, said funding was available to assist with the purchase of them and training in their use.

“This incident demonstrates the life-saving role that defibrillators can play within the community,” Dr Sykes said.

“Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in Australia with an average of 90 people a day affected outside of hospital and without defibrillation, survival rates are between 2 and 5 per cent.

“Every second counts with survival rates being highest when defibrillation is delivered within the first three minutes.”

Dr Sykes said in recent years sporting clubs in Benalla, Bright, Euroa, Glenrowan, Greta, Mansfield, Moyhu, Myrtleford and Swanpool had received funding through VicHealth for them.

He said the government’s active clubs grants provided $500 for small clubs to put towards the cost of defibrillators.

Dr Sykes said a St John community program offered defibrillators for $1845 (a subsidy of $940) with training for 15 people.

The Red Cross Project Defib and The Bendigo Bank Defib Your Club For Life Program also have grants available.

Dr Sykes said the government’s Victorian Emergency Services and Equipment Program provided local emergency services volunteer groups access to grants for operational equipment, including defibrillators.