Lifesaving partnership still going strong at 80

St John Ambulance Tony Ahern with one of the defibrillators that the organisation is giving away to community groups, with the help of Lotterywest.
St John Ambulance Tony Ahern with one of the defibrillators that the organisation is giving away to community groups, with the help of Lotterywest.

Today, the ongoing partnership between the two organisations is helping to provide 100 free defibrillators worth $2900 each to non-profit groups across the state.

Since the establishment of the Lotteries Commission ” now Lotterywest ” in 1933, it has distributed $4 billion in grants by giving 33 cents of every dollar West Australians spend on games back to the community, the only lottery authority in Australia to do so.

St John Ambulance was one of the first community groups to receive a lotteries grant, which it matched to purchase an ambulance.

Chief executive Tony Ahern said the organisation had grown considerably since then.

‘We now have 700 operational staff doing more than 184,000 cases per year, compared to 5174 cases in 1938/39, when the ambulance service only had six officers and four vans,’ Mr Ahern said.

‘St John’s has had numerous grants from Lotterywest over the years, including valuable support for volunteer first aid at public events, which is now known as Event Health Services.’

Mr Ahern said Lotterywest was sponsoring SJA’s defibrillator giveaway, which was one of the best ways to ensure people suffering a heart attack were treated in the first 90 ‘golden’ minutes to maximise their chances of survival.

Visit www.heartstartwa.com.au.