CENTRAL Victorians are being trained to save lives after cardiac arrest survival rates plummeted during the first three months of the COVID-19 crisis.
Cardiac arrest survival rates dropped by about 50 per cent in the Loddon Mallee during the first three months of the pandemic, a statistic reflected across Victoria.
Loddon Mallee Acting Regional Director Amelia Kohn said Ambulance Victoria believed people spending more time at home was the main cause of the falling survival rates.
Mrs Kohn said people were really good at calling an ambulance, but often did not know where their nearest defibrillator was.
An early electric shock from this improved survival rates by 69 per cent, Mrs Kohn said.
She said fear of COVID-19 transmission had possible also made people more cautious helping a stranger in public.
Mrs Kohn said people should still perform CPR after calling Triple Zero if they found someone collapsed and not breathing. She said they should avoid the mouth to mouth element, which was less important.
"Really it's about getting those compression, that's the most important part. We're encouraging people to just start CPR," she said.
"Quite simply it can save a life. Doing nothing won't save a life."
Mrs Kohn urged people across the Loddon Mallee to take part in one of two options - local and statewide - for online CPR and defibrillation training on offer.
The organisation has donated 24/seven automatic external defibrillators to small towns around Victoria, in the hope of improving survival rates. Loddon Mallee towns Boort, Gunbower, Leitchville, Stanhope, Tongala, Donald, Lalbert, Murrayville, Robinvale, Rushworth and Talbot are among those to receive AEDs.
It is also urging schools and businesses with unregistered defibrillators to sigh up to the register, so Triple Zero operators can pass on that information to callers.
To join an online AED training session hosted by paramedics in your local area on October 15 at 7pm, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ambulance Victoria is also offering a free livestreamed CPR and AED lesson on its Facebook page, on Thursday at 7pm.
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