St John WA is embarking on a bold new mission to register 5000 Community First Responder (CFR) locations in Western Australia by Christmas - and they need your help to do it.
The CFR program aims to get defibrillators to cardiac arrest victims in the vital moments before an ambulance arrives, dramatically increasing a person's chance of survival.
There are currently 3700 registered CFR locations across WA, including 452 in the South West - 48 of which are in and around Margaret River and Augusta.
Each location has its details registered with St John. When an emergency call is received, the operator is able to direct the caller or bystanders to a nearby defibrillator while an ambulance is en-route.
The program is linked with St John's First Responder smartphone app, which shows the location of all CFR sites and alerts registered first aiders who're in the vicinity of an unfolding public emergency.
Importantly, the app also allows people to dial triple zero (000) and provides GPS coordinates to help paramedics easily locate the patient.
"The Community First Responder program creates a vital link between St John, local businesses and community groups which makes early defibrillation possible," St John CFR Manager Sally Simmonds said.
"A cardiac arrest can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or health status. More than 33,000 Australians die from the condition each year, and the single biggest factor in improving survival rates is the time taken to administer early CPR and defibrillation.
"It's our mission to make defibrillators as commonly thought of as fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. To make this happen, we need the community's help.
"In Margaret River and Augusta we're fortunate to have a several CFR locations, however, we're encouraging more community groups, sporting clubs and businesses to come on board as we close in on our target of 5000 locations across WA."
In 2017/18, the number of CFR locations grew by 28 per cent from 1664 to 2128. Since November 2018 a further 1558 sites have registered, taking the total to 3686.
"The response to the CFR program has been nothing short of amazing and we're already seeing the benefits of this collaborative approach translate to improved outcomes," Ms Simmonds said.
"Last year, St John WA recorded a 50 per cent increase in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates with 172 survivors, compared with 113 the previous year. Such a sharp increase is virtually unheard of, and one of the factors has been better access to defibrillation.
"If someone has received quality bystander CPR and defibrillation before paramedics arrive, it dramatically increases the likelihood of us getting them to hospital alive."
For more information on how to become a CFR location call (08) 9334 1428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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