A FUNDING delay prompted a Kerang woman to purchase an automatic external defibrillator for public use.
The defibrillator has been installed at the Kerang Memorial Hall, and moves are continuing to obtain one for placement in the town's central business district.
The potentially life-saving piece of equipment was bought outright by Probus Club secretary, Sue Wilson when she heard that a plan to apply for funding would involve a delay in buying a machine.
After she ordered and paid for it from St John Ambulance Service the defibrillator arrived within two days, and it was mounted on the wall of the Memorial Hall supper room around three weeks ago.
Ms Wilson, a retired teacher, who decided to stay on in the district after finishing her final job in Cohuna, described the defibrillator as "a gift to the community."
"I've only been here five years but I love it," she said. "I've really been embraced by the community."
The defibrillator is used in conjunction with cardio-pulmonary resuscitation - chest compressions over the heart - after someone suffers a cardiac arrest.
Ambulance Victoria community officer John Petschauer demonstrated the use of the device at the Probus Club meeting on Tuesday.
In explaining the use of the apparatus, he emphasised the need for CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) to also be performed in the event of a cardiac arrest, when a person collapses and does not have a pulse and is not breathing.
He recommended that more people, particularly younger family members, undertake training to perform CPR, which is quite physically demanding.
A defibrillator is used to stop the fibrillation of the heart by administering a controlled electric shock, to allow restoration of the normal rhythm.
It was important to be aware that not all heart circuits are able to be re-set he said.
Officer Petschauer performed CPR on a mannequin and demonstrated the attachment of the defibrillator electrode pads to the chest.
Once the pads are attached to the chest, pressing a button will activate the analysis of the heart and an audible alert will advise whether a shock should be applied.
Probus members were advised that early CPR, early defibrillation and an early call to 000 for an ambulance were all crucial in giving a patient a better chance of survival.
Facilitating paramedics' access to a patient is also important. House numbers need to be clearly displayed and halls and doorways kept uncluttered to accommodate stretchers.
There are efforts to purchase other defibrillators for public use in Kerang, the meeting heard, and Officer Petschauer suggested that a sensible place to put one that would be accessible at all hours would be outside the post office.