PEOPLE who suffer cardiac arrests will have a better chance of survival, with Echuca paramedics signing up as GoodSAM responders.
At least 10 staff from Echuca Ambulance Service have registered for the emergency app which is designed to alert off-duty paramedics about people suffering a cardiac arrest nearby before an ambulance arrives on the scene.
Launched last week, the GoodSAM app sends an alert to registered off-duty first responders — like paramedics, nurses, doctors and surf lifesavers — to notify them that someone nearby has suffered from cardiac arrest, after a call is made to 000.
The three closest users are given the address, in the hope they can provide assistance until an ambulance arrives.
‘‘If you are within 2km, an alarm goes off on your phone and it tells you the address and if CPR is needed,’’ Ambulance Victoria Echuca acting senior team manager Joanne Kerr said.
‘‘It could be your next door neighbour.’’
Mrs Kerr said the app aimed to reduce preventable deaths, as every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduced someone’s chance of survival from cardiac arrest by 10 per cent.
‘‘This app is designed to improve cardiac arrest survival rates,’’ she said.
‘‘In rural areas, an ambulance could be 10 minutes away so this app will mean an off-duty paramedic may be able to get there first.’’
After a four-month trial involving more than 1100 paramedics across the state, the smartphone app has already helped save the lives of two people, in Ballarat and Narre Warren.
‘‘I haven’t been alerted to anything yet, but one of our staff was recently, but the call was cancelled soon after,’’ Mrs Kerr said.
Ambulance Victoria chief executive Associate Professor Tony Walker said the revolutionary app was a game changer.
‘‘GoodSAM will play a key role in helping save more of the over 6000 Victorians who suffer a cardiac arrest away from hospital every year,’’ he said.
‘‘The two lives saved in pilot phase proves that GoodSAM is transformative technology for patients in cardiac arrest and highlights the impact trained bystanders can have in the critical minutes between a 000 call and emergency services arriving.’’
Ambulance Victoria has partnered with St John Ambulance, Chevra Hatzolah, CFA and Life Saving Victoria to grow the GoodSAM responder community.
‘‘We have an army of responders on board already. Victorians shouldn’t be surprised if an off-duty lifesaver, doctor or firefighter arrives within minutes – they may be in their pyjamas but they are there to help save your life,’’ Associate Professor Walker said.
‘‘It takes a community to save a life. And we are growing this community – a community that before this technology wouldn’t have even known someone just a few hundred metres away needed their life-saving skills.’’
Associate Professor Walker said while GoodSAM was an exciting innovation, it wasn’t a replacement for Victoria’s emergency services.