All about doing your best

MICA Paramedic Rob Voss with a practice CPR diagram printed on a pillow case.

MICA Paramedic Rob Voss with a practice CPR diagram printed on a pillow case.

RESTARTING a heart and saving a life was all about doing your best, according to mobile intensive care ambulance paramedic Rob Voss.

Mr Voss presented a class to Cohuna residents in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation [CPR] for International Restart a Heart Day last week.

The class also learned to use an automated external defibrillator, which works by delivering electric shocks to restart a heart that has stopped beating.

When used in conjunction with CPR a defibrillator can dramatically improve the odds of survival.

The prospect of delivering CPR can be a daunting one but Mr Voss said it was still vital that people do their best.

"It's all about knowing that you have done everything you can, or even just being there to comfort them as they pass. That's priceless for them and the family," he said.

Participants from the Cohuna Lions Club, bowls club, and others all had a go at delivering life-saving compressions to a CPR mannequin, and at using the defibrillator.

The town is equipped with defibrillators at various locations, including the bowls club and the IGA Supa, who were the first to get one about five years ago.

IGA Supa manager, Wendy McGlone organised the day after she realised the battery in her store's defibrillator had died. 

The occasion prompted Mrs McGlone to organise the class in time for Restart a Heart Day.

"I started phoning different bodies in the community, inviting them to attend," she said.

"The day has been so informing. The general public do not realise how much has changed in first aid and being a first responder," she said.

Ambulance Victoria acting chief executive officer, Mick Stephenson said that only one in 10 people survived a cardiac arrest.

"This Restart a Heart Day we're encouraging everyone to make sure they know what to do when a love one's heart stops beating," he said.

Mr Voss said that the symptoms of a heart attack can be highly varied and the safest thing to do, if in any doubt, was to go to the hospital. 

"It can be pain, pressure or tightness in the chest, pain in arms or jaw, a feeling of indigestion, sweatiness, a general feeling of not being well," he said.

Mrs McGlone said that she intends to help organise a full first-aid course for the town in the future in partnership with the Cohuna Mens' Shed. 

"I would urge everyone to get into knowing first-aid," she said.

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