St John Ambulance gave Halls Gap Zoo a defibrillator during heart week

Picture: Peter Pickering
Picture: Peter Pickering

To celebrate heart week St John Ambulance Victoria gave Halls Gap Zoo a defibrillator. 

Local businesses across the state were invited to apply to win one of five defibrillators and Halls Gap Zoo won one of the five selected. 

“Halls Gap Zoo was chosen to receive the defibrillator due to its large tourist foot traffic and because they are open 364 days of the year,” St John Ambulance Victoria regional account executive Peter Gunn said. 

“We have so many people coming through the zoo each year and you never know when an emergency will happen, so we’re glad to know that our patrons, staff and the wider community will all be safer thanks to a defibrillator,” Halls Gap Zoo employee Carly Vokes said.

The defibrillator will be available to the public so it can be used by the wider community in case of an emergency.  

The zoo was also chosen because of its “remote location and ambulance wait times”, Mr Gunn said. 

Sixty per cent of code one (time critical incidents) are attended to under 15 minutes in the region, according to Ambulance Victoria statistics. 

The defibrillator was installed by St John Ambulance at the zoo on Wednesday. 

St John Ambulance members also taught employees at the zoo how to use the defibrillator. 

A defibrillator is used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, a condition that occurs when the heart unexpectedly stops pumping.

Over 30,000 SCAs occur every year and without defibrillation and CPR, fewer than five per cent survive, according to research commissioned by St John Ambulance Victoria. 

Their research also indicates that every minute that passes without defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by 10 per cent.

“If you do use a defibrillator within the first few minutes of sudden cardiac arrest, it can increase the survival rate to as high as 70 per cent,” Mr Gunn said, adding “heart attacks can happen to anyone”. 

St John is calling for mandatory defibrillators in the work place. 

Last week 26-year-old Penhurst footballer Luke Ferguson was revived by club members after suffering a cardiac arrest at training. 

Teammates and an off-duty nurse were forced to use a defibrillator to revive the Mininera league footballer, who was taken to hosptial.