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Belmont, Perth,
26
May
2017

St John app will provide help to people in emergencies

“Responding quickly is vital in a medical emergency – so if we can get a trained person to a scene ahead of an ambulance, this can greatly increase a person’s chance of survival."
CEO Tony Ahern

St John Ambulance Western Australia is using a new smartphone app to enlist qualified first aiders who can respond to someone in distress before the ambulance arrives.

In an Australian first, the free St John First Responder app is designed to alert registered users to incidents occurring in public places within 500 metres of them.

The first responder, someone with appropriate first aid training such as off duty paramedics, doctors, nurses and members of the public, would then be dispatched to give the appropriate first aid, along with the closest ambulance.

The incident types that will trigger an alert include cardiac arrest, burns and allergic reactions.

St John Chief Executive Officer Tony Ahern said the app will help first responders get to incidents quickly.

“Responding quickly is vital in a medical emergency – so if we can get a trained person to a scene ahead of an ambulance, this can greatly increase a person’s chance of survival,” he said. 

“For example, if someone suffers a cardiac arrest, for every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, their chances of survival decrease by 10 per cent.”

“The app will provide the first aider with exact location details so users get to a scene quickly.”

“This fits in with our purpose of making first aid a part of everyone’s life.”

Mr Ahern said the St John State Operations Centre will always send an ambulance regardless of how many first responders are in the vicinity of the incident. He said the alert would perhaps be used 10 times a day, based on typical ambulance call outs.

The app also lists the location of registered defibrillators nearby, allowing first responders to be able to retrieve and use a defibrillator during a cardiac arrest.

The same technology has been used successfully in many countries overseas, Mr Ahern said.

The app is available through the Apple or Google Play app stores. Search: “St John first responder.”

 

Fact file:

  • First aid is a proven lifesaver. Early defibrillation and effective CPR can double a person’s chance of survival.
  • St John is the leader in first aid in WA, training more than 317,000 Western Australians in first aid each year.
  • The app will also include first aid guides for spider bites, electric shock, asthma, bleeds and other conditions.