Editorial: In praise of 'fibbing

When Brian Hall was jolted back into our midst six weeks ago, he became, by our count, the seventh life saved by the defibrillators placed around public locations in Invercargill.

Now numbering more than 70, these are the gizmos that keep giving. They are among the most valuable ongoing contributions that the ILT Foundation has made to the city, accompanied as they are by training for more than 700 people in their use.

Here's where we might airily point out that a further 10 free training programmes are coming up through St John - a splendid idea when you consider staff turnover.

It's far from a dauntingly complex matter to learn how to use them. The only thing that makes us hesitate to say a child could learn it easily enough is that this might suggest the devices are on a par with the modern-age gadgetry that can confound many an adult. Forget that - defibrillators are way easier than PlayStation controllers.

Hall's account of his recovery adds yet further credibility to the HEARTsafe campaign fronted by former Southland Stags rugby player Hoani MacDonald to increase education about how to treat a heart attack in New Zealand communities.

Invercargill has been called New Zealand's defibrillator capital since at least 2007 and now the question arises whether any city anywhere is as well-served. Which is, of course, scant comfort if you live outside the city boundary, bearing in mind that your chances of survival drop 10 per cent every minute that you languish before those pads start their lifesaving zaps into your chest.

It's especially good to see initiatives like that in Northern Southland, where in coming months Balfour, Lumsden, Dipton, Athol, Garston, Waikaia and Mossburn are getting them.

Alongside teaching CPR and other first-aid skills throughout our community, having publicly accessible defibrillators is a crucial asset. Roll on the day when there's an app for that.

The Southland Times