Losing a colleague at a national rural event was just the motivation needed for more than half of all employees at DairyNZ to become trained in CPR.
The Waikato company is the first organisation in the country to be awarded HEARTsafe accreditation - meaning more than half of all 250 employees have been trained in the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and CPR.
''The passing of one of our colleagues due to cardiac arrest rattled many of us,'' said chief executive Tim Mackle.
''This sad occasion really bought home the importance of making sure that our employees have access to an AED and know how to perform life-saving CPR.''
Human Resources general manager Rose Macfarlane also drew on personal experience when training on one of the company's seven AEDs.
The former Nelson teacher was involved in CPR on a 10-year-old pupil who almost drowned while swimming in a river.
''One of the mothers had been trained as a nurse and she gave really clear instructions about what to do - it was so important to work together to ensure a good outcome,'' she said.
Agricultural science post graduate Kristina Mandok has been working with DairyNZ completing research papers. She was amazed at how simple the AED was to operate.
''It gives simple instructions and reminds you of what to do every step of the way,'' she said.
DairyNZ Human Resources advisor Sarah Hooker challenged other rural companies to follow the organisation's example.
''I think being proficient in CPR is particularly important in the rural setting where help could be a bit further away,'' she said.
Employees at Waikato University are also working towards HEARTsafe accreditation making them the second organisation in New Zealand to achieve the feat.
St John community programme director Sonya Gale said businesses had an important role to play in empowering their employees to act is someone suffered a cardiac arrest.
''To become HEARTsafe, businesses need to install a minimum of one AED for every 250 employees, train 50 per cent of employees in their use and have a maintenance plan in place,'' she said.
* Businesses and communities interested in becoming HEARTsafe can visit heartsafe.org.nz.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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