Awareness days are important events through the yearly calendar that help educate and empower all of us to take a more meaningful role in supporting our health and the health of those around us. Here are some important cardiac health days and what they’re all about.
World Heart Day – 29 September
This is an international day of observance started by the World Heart Federation with the aim of raising awareness around the world’s biggest killer – cardiovascular disease. This disease is a major contributor to sudden cardiac arrest deaths (SCA) in Australia and around the world. There are so many ways to observe this day, from learning about cardiovascular disease and adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle to raising funds for research and treatment.
Shocktober – 1-31 October
In Australia, October is Shocktober – a month dedicated to raising awareness about out of hospital SCA, a cardiac emergency that claims 90% of victims and causes over 33,000 deaths each year. SCA is very difficult to predict, as it can occur spontaneously with little warning, or in connection with another cardiac event such as a heart attack, or even as a result of trauma, drowning or electrocution. It can affect anyone, at any time, regardless of age or health, and the only way to treat it is through the application of CPR (to keep oxygen circulating through the body) and defibrillation (to restart the heart)
Because victims of SCA need assistance within 2-4 minutes (long before emergency services can arrive), Shocktober is about empowering people to recognise SCA, teaching people how to perform bystander and full CPR, and teaching you how to use a defibrillator to save a life.
World Restart a Heart Day – 16 October
World Restart a Heart Day goes hand in hand with Shocktober as a day where you can learn full CPR and bystander CPR, as well as how to use a defibrillator from professionals for free! This initiative started in Europe and has spread around the world, with paramedics, First Aid trainers, nurses, doctors and other medical professionals sharing these important life-saving techniques to ensure that ordinary people like you and me know how to assist adults, children and infants in SCA.
Neighbourhood Watch Week – 14-22 November
Neighbourhood Watch Week is a great initiative that’s all about building stronger, safer communities – so you can see why we support it! It’s a community-led program in partnership with law enforcement, where neighbourhood watch participants learn invaluable skills to help prevent crime and increase quality of life for their community. Since 75-80% of SCA events happen in the home, making SCA awareness and defibrillator training (as well as supplying vehicles with AED units) part of this initiative is a fantastic way to help realise these goals. In medical emergency situations, neighbourhood watch participants are often able to provide assistance far faster than emergency services, and this critical training and equipment will empower them to save lives.
Heart Research Month – 1-28 February
The only way we’re going to conquer the threat of cardiovascular disease, SCA and other life-threatening heart health conditions is through funding scientific research dedicated to preventing, diagnosing and treating these conditions. This awareness month shows the devastating impact of heart diseases on lives, families, communities and the economy, and is celebrated on 14 February as the “Day of Hearts”. During this month, researchers from Heart Research Australia share news on breakthroughs, health practitioners and patients share their stories, and organisations share important information on how to prevent these devastating cardiac diseases. On average one Australian dies every 26 minutes due to heart disease – let’s improve these statistics.
Empower Yourself to Save a Life When SCA Strikes
At DefibsPlus, we’re passionate about empowering bystanders and ordinary people to become heroes by providing free training and a wide range of AED devices. We offer bystander defibrillator training through our HeartSmart Program, a program developed in partnership with Monash University, offering online and in person training for individuals and groups. Contact us today to find out more about this important program, and empower yourself, your co-workers and your community to save lives.