PrimePort Timaru installs defibrillator at Caroline Bay

JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAXNZ

PrimePort installs a new defibrillator on outside wall of reception building that the public can use during an medical emergency.

A defibrillator has been installed at Timaru's port, one of only two available to the public in the Caroline Bay vicinity.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) delivers an electric shock to the heart when there is a life-threatening arrhythmia, rapid and erratic beating of the heart.

PrimePort Timaru health and safety manager Kerry Elstone said the AED was initially installed for the welfare of employees but then, as part of the company's social responsibility strategy, it was agreed to offer it for use by the community.

PrimePort heath and safety manager Kerry Elstone pictured with the new defibrillator outside the company's building.
John Bisset /Fairfax NZ

PrimePort heath and safety manager Kerry Elstone pictured with the new defibrillator outside the company's building.

Elstone said a website aedlocations.co.nz shows where other AED are located.

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"If you look at the app, you will find there are very few external ones [at Caroline Bay]. There is ours and a Timaru District Council-owned one at Caroline Bay hall," he said.

Others are located inside buildings and are mostly only available during business hours, Elstone said.

The next closest AED to Caroline Bay is at Rebel Sports in Stafford Street.

St John NZ's website shows each year more than 2,000 New Zealanders suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital.

"For 64 per cent of cardiac arrests, a bystander will perform CPR. People may show no warnings or prior symptoms and 15 per cent survive to hospital discharge following a cardiac arrest. Use of an AED within 3-5 minutes of collapse can increase the chance of survival by up to 40 per cent," the website said.

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The port company's AED is locked inside a cabinet outside the reception door. Instructions on the cabinet are to phone 111 and ask for the ambulance service to receive the lock combination.

"We have a 24/7 watchman here so if someone comes to use it, they can lend a hand as well," Elstone said.

Three other AEDs owned by the port company are located in each tug and in a mobile security van.

"There was an incident with a contractor on another port user's property. Security was called over as a precaution, but it [the AED] wasn't used.

The AED cost the port company about $3300. A surveillance camera has been installed to ensure the device is not damaged.

Defibrillators can be purchased from St John or the Red Cross in Timaru. 

 - Stuff

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