ARARAT - People visiting the Ararat Performing Arts Centre and Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre, and the areas surrounding both centres, will now have access to two new defibrillators installed at the venues.
Ararat Rural City Council Mayor Cr Ian Wilson said the location of the two new defibrillators would be registered with Ambulance Victoria, which has been working with the community over many years to increase the number of defibrillators located in public places in an effort to reduce death from cardiac arrest.
Cr Wilson said the Ararat RSL generously donated the funds to purchase the defibrillator at Gum San, and Ararat Rural City Council purchased an additional unit which is located at APAC, in the foyer of the Ararat Town Hall.
"The Ararat RSL was very keen to help the community with its donation, and we are really grateful for their help to buy the defibrillator for Gum San," he said.
"An additional unit was purchased after the APAC team decided a defibrillator was needed considering some 45,000 people pass through its doors every year."
Ararat RSL general manager Maria Whitford said the RSL was keen to help increase the number of public access defibrillators in the town, and was pleased to supply the funds to buy the Gum San unit.
The two defibrillators - like other public access defibrillators - do not need the person using it to be trained as they provide clear verbal instructions taking the user through each step. The unit at Gum San will be located in the courtyard and can be accessed whenever the centre is open including after-hours events, and the unit at APAC is located in the Ararat Town Hall foyer next to the APAC box office window.
Both units, which are known as Automatic External Defibrillators, are available for emergency use by the general public, whether or not they are in the centres at the time of the emergency. The PAC unit can also be used by people in the Ararat Regional Art Gallery and the nearby local shopping precinct.
Ambulance Victoria has been working to increase the number of public access defibrillators in light of the fact that cardiovascular disease affects more than 3.5 million Australians and is the leading cause of death in Australia.
Cr Wilson said Ararat's two new defibrillators would add to the great work Ambulance Victoria was doing with communities.
"Ambulance Victoria encourages businesses, community groups, sporting clubs and schools to invest in Automatic External Defibrillators," he said.
"They keep a register of all these public access defibrillators so that when you call 000 for a cardiac arrest, the call taker can direct you to the nearest defibrillator. The units are a great investment for our communities."
Defibrillation works by delivering an electrical current through the heart muscle via defibrillation pads. All electrical activity in the heart is temporarily stopped in the hope that when it returns, it will be in a rhythm compatible with an effective pumping motion.
Survival rates are highest when defibrillation is delivered within minutes of the time of collapse. Through greater defibrillator availability, survival rates will improve.
Ambulance Victoria said that public access defibrillators are located in places where large numbers of people congregate such as sporting facilities like the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne Airport, shopping centres, Melbourne and Werribee zoos, Federation Square, Sovereign Hill and City Loop train stations. They are located in more than 25 places across regional Victoria.