Life saving AEDs must come out of the cupboard
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? 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.
Businesses care more about their image and decor than making lifesaving equipment readily available, Jenkin said.
‘‘They don’t want to put a defibrillator in a cabinet where it can be seen by everyone.’’
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 Sta- tion AED.
‘‘There is no point having a lifesaving piece of equipment tucked away,’’ Wellington Free Ambulance’s Heartbeat Coordinator Amy Williams said.
‘‘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.
‘‘ 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.
View of Porirua from Aotea today.