Rod to the rescue
BRIGHT retiree Rod Incoll has known first aid and CPR most of his life and now he is putting those skills to use again as one of 12,500 Victorians that are currently signed up as a GoodSAM responder.
GoodSAM is a mobile app launched by Ambulance Victoria in 2018 as a way for community members to help in the critical first minutes when someone is in cardiac arrest.
“I signed up at the start of the year; I’ve had CPR skills for a long time, I did first aid in the army and did a St John’s course in 1984 where I first learnt CPR,” Mr Incoll said.
“I used those skills a lot through my working life, working as a forester, then with the SEC (State Electricity Commission) and later as the Chief Fire Officer for public land in Victoria.”
To be a GoodSAM responder you must be over 18 and own a smartphone.
There is no requirement to have experience or a medical background, just be willing and able to do hands-on CPR.
The app is integrated with Triple Zero (000) and once a GoodSAM responder receives and accepts an alert they will be directed to the location of the patient to start CPR while an ambulance is deployed.
The app also provides the location of the closest Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), if available, however that won’t be an issue for Mr Incoll who purchased his own AED after he signed up.
“You don’t have to be like me but I’m pretty full on about it, when you make a contribution to the community you set your own level of commitment,” Mr Incoll said.
“I thought, if I’m going to do the job properly I need a defibrillator, because by the time I’ve gone to where one is stored, which may or may not be available, the person could be beyond help.
“It sits close to my front door and it’s similar to the first 35 years of my life when I was on the frontline fighting fires; I had a bag packed and ready which I could just pick up and go if I needed to.”
Ambulance Victoria is currently attempting to sign up an additional 500 Victorians as GoodSam responders after statistics showed a 50 per cent decline in cardiac arrest survival during the three months of the first wave of COVID-19.
“There are a lot of people that already have CPR and first aid skills that could all join up, like police, nurses and even local ski patrollers,” Mr Incoll said.
“You can always call for help too.
“If I’m doing CPR on someone and I’m getting tired and no one else is coming, you can buzz another GoodSAM responder to come and assist.
“We want more people to sign up, everyone that can do CPR or is prepared to do a course to do CPR, that way we get enough coverage because an ambulance can’t always get there straight away.”