The odds of surviving a cardiac arrest in Mangawhai have been increased with the installation of six new automated external defibrillators (AEDs) by St John, with support from Tara Iti and Mangawhai Central.
The new lifesaving devices add to the existing network of defibrillators in easy-to-access locations in the town and means that an AED is more readily accessible when needed.
The six additional AEDs are located at Mangawhai Pharmacy, Tomarata Rugby Football Club, Mangawhai Domain, Mangawhai Boating and Fishing Club, and Miniwhais Early Learning & Care Centre, with the sixth device available for large public events. These are in addition to other publicly accessible AEDs located at St John Mangawhai ambulance station, Mangawhai Heads Surf Beach, Hakaru RSA, St John Mangawhai Store, Mangawhai Golf Club, and Mangawhai Beach School. All AEDs in these locations are maintained by St John to ensure the devices will work when needed.
“We want to acknowledge the generous contribution of the local organisations that have either donated or made AEDs available to the public, and the recipient sites that have been so willing to support this initiative,” says St John Area Committee member and St John Mangawhai station manager, Andrew Mumford.
Research by St John reveals that five people a day, almost 2000 a year, are treated by ambulance officers for a cardiac arrest that happens in the community. People in low income and rural areas are not only twice as likely to suffer a cardiac arrest but have considerably fewer public AEDs available.
St John is going to great lengths in communities around New Zealand to install AEDs in public locations like businesses, sports grounds, schools and marae, as well as delivering the ‘3 Steps for Life’ programme, to teach people how to perform CPR and use an AED.
A cardiac arrest can happen to anyone of any age at any time, and currently only 13 percent of New Zealanders survive a cardiac arrest in the community.
“Every minute counts in a cardiac arrest and improving public access to AEDs is only one piece of the equation,” says Mumford. “We know the survival rate can be drastically improved by calling 111 to get help on the way, having the confidence to start CPR immediately, and using the nearest AED.”
Mangawhai Heads pharmacists Yvette Urlich and Lanny Wong, with St John station manager Andrew Mumford. The new AEDs are dotted strategically around Mangawhai. PHOTO/JULIA WADE