1493761400097 - Rural community pull together for a defibrillator after a health scare

Rural community pull together for a defibrillator after a health scare

A southern community has rallied together to purchase a life saving machine after a man had a heart attack scare.

Cardiac Science G5 Automated External Defibrillator and AED Station has been installed outside Woodlands Motors this month. 

Woodlands Tavern owner Pauline Dermody said she was proud of her community.

“Everyone agreed we needed this, and most people in the community donated.”

A smaller community of about 300 people, they raised more that $6000 and they did it in 28 days, she said. 

“It just shows that everyone clearly wanted it.”

Dermody started campaigning for a defibrillator in February, after a man had a heart attack scare on his way home from the Crank Up 2017 in Edendale.

The man, in his late 60s, left Crank Up because he was feeling unwell. 

His health continued to deteriorate on the trip home forcing the family to pull over in Woodlands. 

The daughter rushed into local businesses looking for help. 

“If he had of been having a heart attack, there wouldn’t have been much we could have done for him.”

Even though they didn’t end up needing a defibrillator that time, she would have felt more comfortable and safe in that situation if there was one available, she said. 

And the community agreed with her. 

Their defibrillator was special because it was situated in a station outside a business making it accessible 24/7.

“If we had it in the pub and we finished at 11pm and someone had a heart attack at 11.30pm the defibrillator would have been useless, we wanted people to be able to have access to it 24/7.”

She hoped other rural communities would take inspiration from what they had done, Dermody said.

“Hopefully, we will lead the way for other communities to follow.”

Members of the community gathered at the Woodland’s Tavern for a “how to” session hosted by the Red Cross on Tuesday.

New Zealand Red Cross Southland training coordinator Dean Ligtenberg said having a defibrillator close by in an emergency could be the difference between life and death. 

An ambulance, depending on where they were travelling from, could take between 10 and 30 minutes to reach Woodlands.

“With every minute of delay the chances of survival decreases by ten per cent.”

The next closest defibrillator was in Myross Bush, 8km away, and it was not a 24 hour station.

“So if someone has a heart attack at 2am it is not going to help.”

The defibrillator system was easy to use, he said. 

“Anyone can use it, it literally talks you through the steps.”

The two pads automatically detected if there was irregularity in someone’s heartbeat and would administer a shock to restart it, he said.

The station was also equipped with a siren that went of if someone accessed the defibrillator, so members of the community would be alerted and come to that person’s aid. 

People could only access the system by using a code which they would get when they dialled 111. 

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