When 81 year old Rod Incoll gets a buzz from his phone, he knows there's a chance that nearby, someone's heart has stopped beating.
A retiree from Bright has volunteered with Ambulance Victoria to provide life saving CPR in his community.
Receiving a notification from Ambulance Victoria's GoodSAM phone app, he picks up his first aid kit waiting by the door, jumps in his car and goes off to help whoever is having a cardiac arrest.
"Saving a life is the ultimate service to the community," Mr Incoll said.
"I've had a career that's been in and out of emergency services, so I'm used to responding to a call.
Ambulance Victoria said around 18 Victorians experience a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital everyday, but only one in 10 survive.
"Unfortunately, it's a common cause of fatalities in the community," Mr Incoll said.
"The feature of cardiac arrest is the heart stops pumping blood to the brain and that means you've only got a very limited time before death occurs - it's actually 10 minutes."
Ambulance Victoria said every minute counts when a heart stops and if you can keep it pumping in those vital first minutes, it more than doubles the person's chance of surviving.
In addition, using a defibrillator together with CPR increases a person's chance of survival by almost 70 per cent.
The GoodSAM program was launched in 2018 and since then the initiative has saved more than 30 lives.
It works by quickly connecting patients having a cardiac arrest with GoodSAM responders through Ambulance Victoria and Triple Zero.
A GoodSAM Responder will receive an alert and is directed to the location of the patient to start CPR and help keep the heart pumping, until the ambulance arrives.
The smartphone app also shows where the nearest defibrillator is located.
Responders can decline the alert if they are unavailable and the next nearest GoodSAM responder will be notified.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Ambulance Victoria said so far more about 1500 Victorians had registered as GoodSAM responders, but it needed more volunteers.
It has been trying to recruit an additional 5000 goodSAM responders after the program was put on hold last year due to concerns about Covid-19.
Mr Incoll said he was keen to share the message and promote the goodSAM app.
He said it was especially important that people who live along the Border and in North East Victoria volunteer for the program.
"You're there for that chance that something could happen," he said.
"In remote rural communities like Bright, Mount Beauty, Wandiligong," he said, "there are very few goodSAM participants, but there are a lot of people that could suffer cardiac arrest."
He said it was particularly important if a town had limited or no ambulances.
"If the ambulances are committed, particularly say at holiday time when there are 20 to 30 thousand extra people in the vicinity, the service is really of premium value," he said.
"I just think it's absolutely essential that more people get on board."
Mr Incoll said he'd had no difficulty navigating the app.
"It's very straight forward," he said.
"It's just a matter of opening the app and when you get the call.
"You need to have your mobile close, of course."
Ambulance Victoria said all GoodSAM alerts are monitored by Ambulance Victoria's 24 hour Communications Centre and would always be backed by the highest priority emergency ambulance response.
"If anybody feels reluctant to do it because their mobile could go off and direct them to somewhere they don't know, then they shouldn't be worried," Mr Incoll said.
"Ambulance Victoria is there to back them up and they'll get instructions all the way."
The current bystander intervention rate in Victoria is 62 per cent and Ambulance Victoria said it is working with partners to reach a target of 70 per cent by 2025.
Mr Incoll said that he had responded to one call so far.
"I've been to one incident in the last six months," he said.
"Unfortunately that person was deceased when I arrived and the ambulance was already there.
"But not withstanding that, you really need to be in the program, and if nothing happens for the first six months, well that's good, isn't it.
"It's a good problem to have."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: