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Oakleigh South mother reunited with firefighters and paramedics after cardiac arrest

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19 Aug 2016
An Oakleigh South mother, who suffered a cardiac arrest at home in February, was reunited with the emergency services personnel who came to her aid.

The woman in her 40s was reading a book in bed before she fell asleep and started snoring loudly.
The noise woke the woman’s husband who immediately recognised something was wrong.
The couple’s teenage daughter called Triple Zero (000) while the woman’s husband quickly initiated effective Cardio Pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the bedroom.
The paramedics could not be more thankful to the patient’s daughter for immediately calling Triple Zero and thankful to the patient’s husband who came to her aid, saying his quick thinking and effective CPR contributed to her survival.
Ambulance Victoria General Manager Clinical and Community Services Ian Patrick said in a cardiac arrest, early CPR is critical in improving outcomes.
“What you do before emergency services arrive can greatly improve the chances of someone’s survival, any attempt at CPR is better than none,” Mr Patrick said.
On Tuesday 16 August 2016, the patient and her family were reunited with paramedics and MFB firefighters who also responded as part of the Emergency Medical Response (EMR) program.
The EMR program was established in 2000 and aims to improve cardiac arrest survival rates through the rapid provision of early effective CPR and defibrillation from trained first responders.
When a priority zero medical emergency occurs, the nearest ambulance and MFB fire truck are dispatched.
Firefighters are trained to provide unconscious, non-breathing and pulseless patients with Basic Life Support care until an ambulance arrives.
In this case, MFB firefighters arrived soon after paramedics and moved the woman from her bedroom to the lounge room and continued CPR under the direction of paramedics. Paramedics attached a defibrillator to the patient and shocked her once before she regained a heartbeat.
A defibrillator is used to analyse a person’s heart rhythm and shock a person’s heart back into normal function, if they are in cardiac arrest.
“The EMR program is designed to strengthen the ‘chain of survival’, which contributes to improving cardiac arrest survival,” Mr Patrick said.
“The six steps in the ‘chain of survival’ are early recognition of cardiac arrest, early access to emergency care (calling Triple Zero), early CPR, early defibrillation, early advanced care (paramedics) and definitive care (hospital).”
“Early CPR maintains vital blood flow to a person’s brain and vital organs and means they have a better chance of survival when medical help arrives and, early bystander defibrillation through the use of Public Access Defibrillators increases the chance of survival even further.”

MFB Chief Executive Officer Jim Higgins said that despite the EMR program being almost two decades old, there are still instances where members of the public are unaware of the assistance firefighters can provide.

“Last year MFB firefighters attended almost 5000 emergency medical response calls across Melbourne,” Mr Higgins said.

“If you call Triple Zero for assistance, listen carefully to the call taker who can provide instructions for first aid and CPR. If a fire truck arrives first, don’t turn them away. They are there to help save lives.”

You can learn more about CPR at

You can learn more about Emergency Medical Response at

You can also pick up a brochure at more than 400 doctor’s surgeries across Melbourne explaining the Emergency Medical Response program.

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