St John WA and Lotterywest’s joint Heart Grant program saves six lives across WA

Press Release
  • St John WA, supported by Lotterywest has saved the lives of six Western Australians through the St John WA Heart Grant program,
  • Through the Lotterywest-funded Heart Grant program, more than 1000 public-access Automatic Electronic Defibrillators (AEDs) were installed in locations owned by not-for-profit and community groups across the state,
  • Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in Australia with more than 30,000 incidents each year — the defibrillators issued by the Heart Grant program aim to reduce this statistic.

Six Western Australians who suffered cardiac arrest survived to hospital over the past three years thanks to St John WA’s Heart Grant program.

Supported by Lotterywest, the program has delivered more than 1000 public-access Automatic Electronic Defibrillators (AEDs) to not-for-profit community groups and sporting clubs across the state since it began in 2018.

Since the inception of the partnership, eight of the registered AEDs installed through the program were activated as part of St John WA’s Community First Responder network, meaning a patient received a shock from a defibrillator. Of the eight incidents, six of patients survived to hospital thanks to the availability and proximity of a defibrillator in their crucial time of need.

Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in Australia, accounting for over 30,000 lives taken each year. The single key contributing factor to improving survival rates of sudden cardiac arrest is the time taken to administer early CPR and defibrillation.

Research shows when CPR and defibrillation are administered within five minutes of an event survival rates dramatically improve. The St John WA Heart Grant program remains committed to growing the presence of defibrillators across WA to support accessibility of these vital machines.

St John WA CEO, Michelle Fyfe said the Heart Grant partnership was designed to build resilience in communities across Western Australia with organisations like sporting groups, the Men’s Shed group, RSLWA and churches among the top recipients. Additionally, 19 Heart Grant-funded defibrillators were provided to regional Indigenous organisations.

“There are people in Western Australia at home with their families who would otherwise not be here thanks to this partnership between two dedicated organisations,” Ms Fyfe said.

“We’re so thankful to Lotterywest for funding our Heart Grant program which has saved lives, built community resilience and helped us deliver on our purpose of serving humanity.”

Of the AEDs distributed through the program, 930 were registered on the Community First Responder network — a free St John WA service that aims to provide access to defibrillators to support cardiac arrest victims in the vital minutes before an ambulance arrives.

Lotterywest General Manager Grants and Community Development, Lorna Pritchard said WA is fortunate to have the only lottery in Australia where the profits are returned to the community, making it possible to support initiatives like the Heart Grant Program. 

“Lotterywest’s support for St John WA goes back to 1933. We are proud to continue supporting the lifesaving work of St John WA, with a $1.3 million grant towards this vital program that’s already saved six lives,” Ms Pritchard said.

“Lotterywest acknowledges the great work St John WA has done over many years keeping our State safe.”

The Heart Grant program recipients were also provided with a free St John Safe assessment on the group’s readiness for a medical emergency. St John Safe Assessments helps groups with their first aid training, equipment, facility and procedural requirements.

Pictured L-R: Wirrpanda Foundation General Manager – Shane Devitt, Wirrpanda Foundation General Manager Community and Employment Engagement – Troy Cook, Lotterywest General Manager Grants and Community Development – Lorna Pritchard, St John WA Chief Brand and Reputation Officer – Aaron Crowther.
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