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.

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