Ambitious plan to create a town of life savers

St John Ambulance officers Murray Wells and Erin Van Uden are hoping to help train the whole Donnybrook-Balingup community on how to use defibrillators. Photo: supplied
St John Ambulance officers Murray Wells and Erin Van Uden are hoping to help train the whole Donnybrook-Balingup community on how to use defibrillators. Photo: supplied

St John Ambulance WA is embarking on an ambitious campaign to equip the entire Donnybrook community with lifesaving skills.

Beginning September 8, St John will host a series of free town hall training sessions and community events in an effort to transform the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup into WA’s first CPR-capable community.

The campaign is designed to improve awareness and usage of automated defibrillators, which are proven to dramatically increase survival rates for cardiac arrest patients.

There are currently 15 defibrillator machines throughout the shire – a figure St John hopes to double over the next month.

St John South West regional manager Nicolle Warren said understanding how to apply a defibrillator during a cardiac arrest was especially important in regional and remote communities.

“For people in regional WA who may live some distance from their nearest hospital, knowing where to find a defibrillator and how to use it in an emergency really can save a life,” she said.

“This is the first time St John Ambulance has launched a concerted bid to train an entire community in the use of defibrillators.

“The aim is to … train an entire community of potential lifesavers.”

Sessions will run weekly from September 8 at the Donnybrook Town Hall, St John’s Donnybrook sub-centre and by request at other community locations. Sessions are open to anyone over the age of 12.

Chairman of the St John Donnybrook sub-centre Ian Telfer said it was important to improve access to defibrillators across the shire.

“Not only will this campaign teach people to apply an automated defibrillator, it also aims to increase their availability locally,” he said.

“The placement of defibrillators is most effective when all the community is confident in using them.

“We are encouraging installation and registration of defibrillators at ... shopping centres, sporting clubs and local businesses.”

The location of every defibrillator machine across WA is marked on St John’s First Responder app.

For further details or to register for a training session, contact St John Ambulance Donnybrook on 0428270154 or book online.