BY JULIA WADE
With the recent addition of more readily accessible life-saving equipment, local emergency service St John have made it a lot easier for the community to help save lives.
Mangawhai St John Station manager Andrew Mumford says the organisation is pleased to be adding to the network of Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s) in Mangawhai and surrounding areas.
Although the devices are mainly only available during business hours due to being located inside premises, Mumford says he is encouraging businesses to make the devices available 24/7 by securing a lockbox on outer walls.
“When a cardiac arrest occurs, seconds count. Getting help quickly by phoning 111, having a good basic knowledge of CPR and being able to access your nearest AED no matter the hour of day, can quite literally save a life,” he says.
“If businesses want to get hold of a lockbox, just get in touch with me. I’m just trying to secure support to pay for a bunch of boxes and then I was planning on going around and offering to install them.”
AEDs deliver electric shocks to the heart which, along with good CPR, can restore normal heart rhythm.
The equipment is easy to use and guide the user through applying electrodes, to not touching the patient and how to deliver a shock.
“They also coach you on how to do good CPR, in case a shock is not able to be delivered. If residents of Mangawhai are interested in learning how to do CPR and use an AED, they should get in touch, we’re here to help.”
The external AED’s, fitted to the outer wall of St John Ambulance Station and St John Op Shop, can be accessed by phoning 111 and asking for an ambulance. Once aware of the location of the caller, the operator will pass on a numbered code which will unlock the device.
The implementation of the AEDs is just another way local St John helps to save lives around Mangawhai and across Bream Bay.
In the last 12 months St John volunteers have contributed over 7800 hours to maintain the ambulance service in Mangawhai, which “equates to keeping the vehicle available to responding to over 60 percent of the time with on call coverage outside these hours,” Mumford says.
“On average we attend 470 incidents per year with seasonal increases in summer due to population and in winter due to illness,” he says. “Our workload consists of approximately 40 percent traumatic injuries and 60 percent medical conditions with falls, breathing problems, and chest pain topping the list.”
Mangawhai St John is also part of a network of emergency response teams and share mutual beneficial support for ambulance services in Bream Bay, as well as air providers, Fire and Emergency NZ and PRIME doctors (Primary Response in Medical Emergencies) whose main objective is to support the ambulance service with a rapid response to seriously ill or injured patients living in rural communities.
Money raised from St John Opportunity shop in Mangawhai Village, the Supporters Scheme, donations and fundraising, is critical to the operation of local ambulances and to provide equipment and training resources. The funds also helped build the new Ambulance Station on Molesworth Drive.
“We are incredibly grateful to the team of tireless volunteers that run the St John Opportunity Shop,” Mumford says. “Without their support, and the generosity of our community, we would not have such a strong ambulance service.”
St John Op shop manager, Frances Kennelly, shows the handy location of the AED in Mangawhai Village. “Thank you Mangawhai for your ongoing support of the Op Shop, it is vital to keep donations coming in as without them, we could not continue our fundraising activities.”