Coffs Harbour adopts Defib Hero program

Julie Moore from C3 Group, Callan Bailey from The Bailey Centre, Lochie Martin from Gosling Group, Guy Leech from Defib Hero, Ellis Gowing of Gowing Bros. Ltd, Sturt Eastwood from Gowing Bros. Ltd and Brad Daymond from Bonville Golf Resort.

THE RISK of sudden cardiac arrest deaths should decrease dramatically on the Coffs Coast as the region adopts a new initiative called the Defib Hero program.

Guy Leech, the founder of Heart180 and a former world champion Ironman and surf lifesaver, spent a day in Coffs Harbour on Wednesday 15 May talking to schools and businesses about how the initiative works.

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Defib Hero is a world-first community program which combines key lifesaving elements learnt from pilot programs across Australia and practices used in Seattle, USA to reduce heart related deaths.

Seattle, known as the safest place to suffer a heart incident in the world, has a survival rate of approximately 70 percent from sudden cardiac arrest.

In Australia the survival rate is under ten percent.

A pillar of the Defib Hero program is a free app.

To ensure the success of the program, locals are being encouraged to download the Defib Hero app so they can access details of where the nearest defibrillator is located in an emergency.

“Every day, 100 Australians lose their lives to sudden cardiac arrests (SCA),” Guy told News Of The Area.

“By increasing the number of defibrillators out there, and the number of people willing to use them, along with knowing where they are, we can significantly reduce this toll and save countless lives.

“The defib hero program will be successful in local communities if locals download the app, find the defib closest to them, and do the online training, so if push comes to shove, they can save a life.”

All Automated External Defibrillators (AED) should also be registered on the app.

“What we are asking the community to do is register your AED and by doing so we establish a register (of AEDs) across your community.

“Once an AED is registered on the app it appears on the map so that anyone can find their closest AED wherever they are when a cardiac arrest takes place.”

The program also encourages communities to create their own ‘Defib Hero Squad’.

“This way locals will learn how to discover, locate, own, register and find out about how important defibs are to saving lives,” said Guy.

The Defib Hero program encourages all available AEDs to be accessible 24/7, not locked away for safekeeping.

In some clubs, when the premises are not attended, the doors are locked and people in need cannot access the AED.

The program also provides easily accessible CPR and AED training through the app, and reminders are sent out via the app regarding AED battery and warranty expiration.

Guy is championing the Defib Hero program at a national level, a mission driven by personal reasons.

“Nine years ago, a friend of mine tragically passed away during a fitness class I was taking,” he said.

“If only there had been a defibrillator available, he might have had a chance of survival.

“This heartbreaking experience ignited within me a passionate desire to advocate for the widespread availability of defibrillators and the knowledge of their locations.

“While I couldn’t save my friend, I am determined to potentially save others by spreading awareness and accessibility to these life-saving devices.”

A range of major Coffs Coast business leaders have already supported the initiative as partners, including Ray Smith from the Bayrange Group, Steve Gooley from The Shoreline, Matt Gosling from the Gosling Group, Sturt Eastwood from Gowing Bros. Ltd, Callan Bailey from the Bailey Centre, and Brian Townley from the C3 Group.

Bonville Golf Resort General Manager Brad Daymond told NOTA he has deeply personal reasons for supporting the Defib Hero program, having seen firsthand the critical role a defibrillator can play in an emergency.

“A while back, I had to use one on our course to save a guest’s life,” Brad said.

“Without it, the outcome would have been tragic.

“Ensuring we have this life-saving equipment readily available is vital to protecting our community.”

Brad has spent the last ten years actively encouraging local businesses to purchase defibrillators.

When he saw what Guy was doing with the Defib Hero app, he and C.ex CEO John Rafferty teamed up to join the program and encourage other local business leaders to do so.

“Guy and I have been friends for many years, and I’ve closely followed his progress with the Defib Hero project.

“Having personally used a defibrillator to save someone’s life, I knew right away how crucial this program is.”

Brad is thrilled that other local business owners proved eager to get involved.

“This was the perfect opportunity to launch a campaign here in Coffs Harbour to raise awareness about the importance of access to defibrillators and saving lives.

The program is designed to be monitored and implemented over a five-year period.

The next phase will be purchasing defibrillators and locating them in public spaces.

“This is where the business community kicks in with financial support to ‘fill in the gaps’ and ensure that everyone in our LGA is within three minutes of a defibrillator,” Brad said.

As part of his Coffs Harbour campaign visit, Guy also spoke at Bishop Druitt College in North Boambee.

“All my school visits across Australia have been remarkable, with the recent visit to Bishop Druitt College standing out.

“The students there showed genuine enthusiasm for learning how to do CPR and how to use a defibrillator.

“We urged all the Bishop Druitt College students to download the app and undergo the training,” he said.


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