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In collaboration with Maroondah City Council and esteemed member Mr. Nick McGowan, we were pleased to install a life-saving defibrillator at the Heathmont Lakkari Guides Hall.

Mr. McGowan himself proudly delivered the defibrillator to the enthusiastic Lakkari girls, who were keen to learn vital first aid skills and how to seek assistance in case of an emergency.

With cardiac arrest survival still shockingly low, this initiative is a collective effort from the community to ensure the safety and well-being of its residents. Accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to any member of the community in an emergency, it’s the first of its kind in the Ringwood area. “This is the first of many, we hope” adds Nick.

Mr. McGowan, who was a lifesaver himself at Bondi and Manly beaches as a young boy, alongside Maroondah City Council and the Guides group, has led this effort in order to provide a vital resource that most do not have available near home.

About 30,000 Australians experience sudden cardiac arrest in the community each year, less than 5% survive without immediate CPR and defibrillation, last year only 1.77% of patients got an early shock from a publicly accessible defibrillator.

The latest Victorian data[1] shows 7,830 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurred in in 2022/23, with 139 receiving a shock from a public defibrillator. Thankfully this is an increase of 30% on the year prior, when only 107 people were defibrillated by a public AED. The number is slowly increasing, but at St John we believe with more urgent action it will rise much faster.

With more defibrillators installed near homes and public places, coupled with 24/7 availability and registration of the AEDs for emergency services and GoodSAM visibility, we know survival will improve. When shocked by a public AED, the survival rate was an impressive 53% versus an overall survival of 4.95% in 2022-23.

Defibrillators accessible in public spaces like this Guide Hall not only enhance community safety but also alleviate the strain on emergency services, allowing for responses in minutes by members of the community.

Our other programs, including Defib in Your Street, are putting dozens of defibrillators and thousands of trained individuals into residential locations where they are ready to respond. These charitable programs are just one way St John Ambulance Victoria is aiming to increase sudden cardiac arrest survival to 15% in the next 5 years. Learn more about this program here.


[1] Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry (VACAR) 2022-23