Free training at the heart of the matter

Have a heart: Sunbury Bowls Club’s George Foster says it pays to get training on how to use a defibrillator. Picture: Marco De LucaHUME residents can learn the invaluable skill of restarting a heart, for free.

Sporting clubs and community groups can now sign up for free training on how to operate a lifesaving automatic electronic defibrillator (AED) after 37 units were rolled out across the Hume region.

It complements the ‘Defib Your Club, for Life’ campaign, which has put defibrillators in more than 900 sporting clubs across the state.

The campaign has also gone national, with 10 Western Australian sporting clubs set to install them.

There are also plans to have one in every basketball stadium in the country.

The campaign is led by paramedic Andrew White, who witnessed 19-year-old Rupertswood footballer Stephen Buckman collapse and die at training in Sunbury in 2010.

Hume Council has donated $45,000 to buy defibrillators for sports clubs.

Hume mayor Ros Spence said the free, ongoing training would further safeguard the community.

“Research demonstrates that the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest decreases by approximately 10 per cent for every minute that defibrillation is delayed being used,” she said.

“The council has identified centres with either high visitor numbers or where the activity type would reasonably suggest the community could expect to find an AED unit on site, such as the aquatic centres, active sports clubs and bowls clubs.”

Mr White said training would dispel urban myths associated with AEDs, chiefly around perceived high cost, personal liability and problems with use.

“Anybody can use an AED,” he said. “It’s as easy as using a toy.”

The campaign has raised more than $2 million in 12 months, with little government assistance and a Sunbury businessman Glen Ingram has tipped in $15,000 to get more AEDs in the Hume region.

Mr White had earlier told the Weekly that having defibrillators to revive heart attack victims could save about 30 lives a year.

AEDs provide an electric shock to re-establish a regular heartbeat.

The hearts of up to 33,000 Australians suddenly stop beating annually due to a cardiac arrhythmia, statistics show. Training is available on an ongoing basis.

Details: 92052200.