A partnership between the corporate and charity sector is providing essential services to regional communities in WA.
Funds donated by Western Australian growers and the CBH Group, a grain growers' cooperative that handles, markets and processes grain from WA’s Wheatbelt, will help charities including St John WA provide support to communities across the state.
St John WA welcomed a $70,000 donation from the collective which has distributed a record $520,000 in donations among nine charities through grain voluntarily forfeited in the 2022/23 harvest.
The proceeds of the sold forfeit grain are donated to the WA charities nominated by growers and CBH employees, through the Harvest Mass Management Scheme (HMMS) developed by CBH and Main Roads WA.
CBH Chair Simon Stead said the donations will provide valuable support to the selected charities, allowing them to continue their important work in helping grain growers and their communities in WA.
“It’s wonderful to see that since the scheme’s inception, more than $2.6 million has been donated to a range of charitable organisations who do important work to support regional communities,” he said.
St John WA Major Partnerships Specialist, Angel Robins, said partnerships like this between corporate and the charity sector were essential to bridge the healthcare gaps in our regional communities.
To date, CBH has helped St John WA, which covers the largest area of any single ambulance service in the world, install 134 automatic external defibrillators (AED) across the WA grain growing region in the Wheatbelt.
The donation will help add another 36 lifesaving AEDs to the community.
“We are honoured that CBH and the farmers understand the importance of this and have generously given to this cause,” she said.
The importance of CPR and AED
Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in Australia, hitting around 30,000 Australians every year.
Having access to lifesaving defibrillators and knowing how to perform CPR plays a critical role in sudden cardiac arrest survival rates before paramedics arrive.
“We know that every minute a patient is in cardiac arrest, not receiving CPR or AED shock will reduce their chances of survival by 10 per cent,” Ms Robins said.
“We don’t want to leave survival to chances. By having accessible AEDs in the community, we know we will help to strengthen our Community First Responder network and create a resilient community.”
Recent global research released in September has indicated that the majority of cardiac arrest patients receive lifesaving CPR by a bystander.
In WA, 95 per cent of women and 93 per cent of men who experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in a public location received bystander CPR in the past five years, according to the North American study.
These numbers outshine global figures of 61 per cent of women and 68 per cent men receiving bystander CPR in similar circumstances, showing that more people in WA are equipped to perform CPR compared to international counterparts.
St John WA Chief Preventative Officer Megs O’Donnell said the WA performance was the result of range of factors – not least the effort put in by St John WA to ensure Western Australians have the time, tools and knowledge to potentially save a life.
“In Western Australia we also have more than 44,000 people who are registered on the First Responder App who can be called upon by the State Operations Centre to render assistance if they are located close to an incident in a public place.
“In addition, there are 7702 Automated External Defibrillator locations registered with St John WA which can be deployed by members of the public in event of OHCA.
“This is important because the first few minutes after cardiac arrest are the most critical. Early intervention in the minutes before an ambulance arrives can make all the difference,” Ms O’Donnell said.
“They’re simple and easy to use. The only way to make things worse with an AED is not to use it.”
St John is encouraging all businesses across WA to install lifesaving defibrillators, or AEDs, in every office.
For the month of October, St John WA is offering 20 per cent off the recommended retail price of the St John G5 defibrillator, an incentive part of Shocktober, a global initiative to raise awareness and educate the community about learning CPR and how to use an AED.
Also held in October, Restart a Heart Day, held annually on Monday 16 October, reminded communities of the crucial importance of knowing how to perform CPR and having AEDs installed in accessible public and office settings.
Without intervention, the damage caused by cardiac arrest after 10 short minutes is nearly irreversible, with only 1 in 10 people surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Having an AED can mean the difference between life and death, with thousands of Australian families losing someone to cardiac arrest every year because lifesaving equipment was not available when it was most needed.