Rimutaka Lions Help Donate an AED to Upper Hutt Community

by Paul Lambert | 
Wednesday 31st August 2016

Gareth Jenkin founder of AED Locations an online database with about 6000 New Zealand AEDs listed.

About once a week Gareth Jenkin walks into a building he hasn't been in before, and asks an employee one question.

Do you have a defibrillator?

He'll often beat his chest, underneath his right collar bone and beneath his left rib imitating the effect of a defibrillator, also known as an AED.

Amy Williams, Wellington Free Ambulance Heart Beat coordinator at the WED unveiling at Upper Hutt Station.

Supplied

Amy Williams, Wellington Free Ambulance Heart Beat coordinator at the WED unveiling at Upper Hutt Station.

"People cotton on," Jenkin said.

A resuscitation coordinator and former paramedic, Jenkin founded AED Locations, a national database that pinpoints all known AEDs in the community.

He has located about 6000 defibrillators across the country but is still struggling to convince businesses to display them more clearly.

Upper Hutt Station AED installed last month.

Supplied

Upper Hutt Station AED installed last month.

Businesses care more about their image and decor than making lifesaving equipment readily available,  Jenkin said.

"When I speak to managers of buildings or facilities they say we don't need signage here, there is enough signage. A lot of people keep them in a Harry Potter cupboard with no signage.

"They don't want to put a defibrillator in a cabinet where it can be seen by everyone."

International AED symbol.

Supplied

International AED symbol.

Putting an AED in an easy-to-access place is wad conversation Jenkin has had "multiple times" in the past five years. 

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"Corporate people are more concerned about the image and the colouring of their decor than putting the defibrillator where it can be clearly seen."

Jenkin said clear signage about AEDs and placing them in obvious locations would prevent people having to scramble to find the machine when someone had a cardiac arrest.

A good example of a well sign posted AED machine was the recently installed Upper Hutt Station AED.

"There is no point having a lifesaving piece of equipment tucked away," Wellington Free Ambulance's Heartbeat Coordinator Amy Williams said.

"Wellington Free Ambulance ensure that when a new AED is put into the Wellington region, it is either mounted in an external public accessible location with 24hour access or if to be kept inside, that it is readily available to anyone requiring to use it."

"They are totally automated and easy to use.

"A voice in the machine literally takes you through all the steps one by one, and stops you the moment you do something wrong.

"Lots of people think they look technical and scary, but they're not. Simply stepping in and using one in an emergency can literally mean the difference between life and death."

Each week, on average, four people suffer a cardiac arrest somewhere in Greater Wellington and Wairarapa, according to Wellington Free Ambulance. An AED can increase someone's chance of survival by up to 80 per cent if applied immediately.

Between July 2015 and  June 2016 there were 13 known cases where a member of the public had used a defibrillator before  the emergency service arrived at  the scene.  Eight people out of these 13 survived to hospital.  

The Greater Wellington Regional Council are rolling out four AEDs in train stations around the Greater Wellington Region. 

The public defibrillator was installed in Upper Hutt train station with funds from the Rimutaka Lions and assistance from the GWRC and Wellington Free Ambulance.

AEDs located in the Greater Wellington

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