AED scheme grows wings

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 13/08/2012

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Timaru's defibrillator initiative is doing the rounds of South Canterbury, with the wider region now hooked on the idea.

The project was launched last year by Timaru District councillor Steve Earnshaw, in conjunction with St John. The aim was to get 25 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) distributed throughout the area.

At the time, the public had access to seven defibrillators throughout the wider Timaru area - three at Aoraki Polytech and one each at Westend Hall, Temuka and Timaru New World supermarkets and Timaru Port security.

Now that number has increased to 32, with the help of various community groups - 19 around Timaru, two in Temuka, five in Geraldine and one each in Pareora, Woodbury, Rangitata, Orari, Pleasant Valley and Peel Forest.

None of them has been used so far, according to a St John representative.

Another four will be available for use soon - one at Winchester's Wolseley Hotel and one each for Dee St, Cave and Timaru's Theatre Royal.

Many of the defibrillators are located in a locked box on the outside of buildings. When a person requiring the machine rings 111, a St John staff member will provide the lock's combination.

Other AEDs are available inside buildings during opening hours.

About 10 staff members from each business where the machines are located have received training from St John on how to use an AED and also in CPR, so that people in the district are confident when using the machine.

Mr Earnshaw said he was impressed with the project's success, but he was also pleased to see it come to an end in Timaru.

"It's good to start projects, but it's even better to finish them.

"We all thought it was a big ask setting ourselves 25 as a target, but we've gone past that, which is great."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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