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Introducing Defib in Your Street Program to Sunshine: A Lifesaving Initiative

St John Ambulance Victoria is thrilled to extend its Defib in Your Street Program to the vibrant suburb of Sunshine. This marks our third expansion as part of our commitment to enhancing cardiac arrest survival rates across Victoria, and to create a heart-safe state where every resident has the best chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest. As we look to the future, our goals are bold, our vision clear.

In 2024, we’re setting our sights higher than ever before. Our goal is to triple the survival rate for Victorians experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Currently, the survival rate stands at less than 5%, a stark reminder of the urgency of our mission. By 2029, we envision that 15% of Victorians will survive sudden cardiac arrest, a transformation that could save hundreds of lives each year.

Imagine if our survival rate were already at 15%. Based on the total cardiac arrests recorded in 2022-23, an additional 786 lives would have been saved. This isn’t just a statistic; it’s the potential to reunite families, strengthen communities, and create a safer Victoria.

What Is the Defib in Your Street Program?

Defib In Your Street is now a highly awarded program, achieving 2 awards in 2023. In October, the program was recognised by Emergency Management Victoria with a highly commended award in the community category and taking out the Community Engagement category in Brimbank City Council’s 2023: We Are Brimbank Awards.

Our groundbreaking program aims to achieve the following in Sunshine:

  1. Install 30 Defibrillators: We’re strategically placing defibrillators so that no resident is more than 400 meters away from a 24/7 accessible Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
  2. Train 5,000 Residents in CPR: We offer free CPR training, whether through accredited courses (like HLTAID009) or non-accredited awareness sessions (such as CPR Lab or eLearning).

Current Focus: The 3020 Postcode 

Our efforts are laser-focused on improving cardiac arrest survival rates in the 3020 postcode, which includes Sunshine, Sunshine North, Sunshine West, and Albion. By empowering residents with life-saving skills and strategically placing defibrillators, we aim to create a safe and resilient community.

Why Sunshine?

Sunshine faces a critical challenge: it has one of the highest rates of out of hospital cardiac arrests in the state. But together with the local community, we can turn that around. Our mission is to transform Sunshine into one of the safest places in Australia to face sudden cardiac arrest.

While there have been modest improvements in AED usage and survival rates over the past five years, the prevalence of sudden cardiac arrest is outpacing these gains due to population growth and aging. The grim reality is that the death rate from cardiac arrest remains alarmingly high at 95%.

At St John Ambulance Victoria, we believe that knowledge is the key to saving lives. Recently, we conducted a comprehensive survey among Sunshine community members to gauge their awareness of cardiac arrests, CPR, and defibrillation. The results are both enlightening and motivating:

  • 78% of respondents do not feel confident in their ability to use a defibrillator.
  • 74% are unaware of the location of the nearest defibrillator.
  • Over half of the community, 55% has not received recent first aid training.
  • Shockingly, 81.5% of respondents are uncertain about what steps to take when faced with someone showing signs of sudden cardiac arrest.

These numbers serve as a powerful catalyst for change. We are committed to expanding our Defib in Your Street Program urgently. Our mission extends beyond installing defibrillators; it’s about empowering every Sunshine resident with the knowledge and confidence to act swiftly during a cardiac emergency.

The launch featured on Channel 7 and Channel 9 News

Educating Sunshine: Our Next Steps

  1. Community Workshops: We are excited to host free workshops where we’ll provide hands-on training in defibrillator usage, CPR techniques, and essential first aid skills. These workshops aim to empower our community members with life-saving knowledge.
  2. Defib Locator: Our mission is to ensure that every resident in the Sunshine area knows exactly where to find the nearest defibrillator. You can easily access this information by visiting the Ambulance Victoria AED registry, which provides details on defibrillator locations and their availability throughout the day.
  3. Advocacy and Legislation: We remain committed to advocating for state government support and pushing for legislation that mandates the placement of defibrillators in public spaces. By working together, we can create a safer environment for everyone.


Your Role in Saving Lives

Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Free CPR Training: Book your spot now for our complimentary CPR training sessions.
  2. Host a Defibrillator: Consider hosting a defibrillator on your property. Together, we can ensure rapid access to this life-saving device.
  3. Other Free Education & Training Options: Explore additional educational opportunities to boost your knowledge about cardiac arrests, CPR, and defibrillation.


Defibrillators: The Key to Saving Lives

Progress has been made with 139 people shocked by public defibrillators, which is an increase on the year prior when only 107 people were shocked by public AED. However, this is just 1.77% of all cardiac arrest, and we still believe that urgent action is needed.

To achieve a 15% survival rate, we recognise the need for a significant increase in accessible defibrillators. Currently, there are 13,243 registered AEDs across Victoria. To triple survival rates, we estimate that an additional 26,500 AEDs are required within our communities.

St John Ambulance Victoria calls upon the state government to:

  1. Triple the Number of Defibrillators: Let’s make Victoria a hub of accessible defibrillators. We urge the state government to rally behind our Defib in Your Street initiative. With a $1.6 million investment, we can extend the program to the next 10 postcodes most affected by sudden cardiac arrests. Let’s encourage communities to be proactive in saving lives.
  2. Legislate for Public Building Defibrillators: Following South Australia’s lead, we propose legislation requiring defibrillators in public spaces. Imagine the impact of having 40,000 defibrillators strategically placed throughout Victoria. Thus, we urge the Victorian government to take decisive action. Let’s ensure that all public buildings from schools to shopping centres have a working and well-maintained AED installed alongside clear signage. By doing so, we can lead the charge in tackling this indiscriminate killer and create a safer, more resilient Victoria.

Together, we can outpace this and elevate Victoria’s cardiac arrest survival rates. Join us in making Sunshine a place of safety and resilience!

For more information, visit our Sunshine Defib in Your Street Program page.


A St John Ambulance Victoria initiative creating the safest places in Australia to have a sudden cardiac arrest - 24/7 accessible defibrillators and free training


Get the skills to perform CPR on an adult, child and infant with a 2.5 hour Nationally accredited HLTAID009 Provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation course.


Defibrillators have the power to save lives during a sudden cardiac arrest event.