Saved in a heartbeat

KIAMA Public School P&C has achieved a long-term goal by buying a potentially life-saving defibrillator and has called for the locations of others to be more widely promoted.

The need for publicity was highlighted when Kiama Leisure Centre staff accessed the venue's defibrillator to treat a Worrigee man who suffered an electric shock last month.

P&C president Amanda Koorey said the device, kept in the sick bay, was easy to use and had step-by-step instructions.

She said buying one had been on the P&C's agenda for some time.

However, Mrs Koorey said it was vital that there was greater knowledge of where defibrillators could be accessed.

"You need to be able to act instantly," she said.

"Those first few minutes are crucial.

"I contacted the council to see if we can have some kind of local map, or way to let people know where the machines are.

"If someone had a heart attack in the carpark at Woolies . . . is there a machine in that shopping centre somewhere?

"We should all know where they are.

"Some places are shut of a weekend, so it's even more important to let people know where they all are."

Principal Michael Honeywood said it was an important device for schools to own.

"With the teaching population, a lot are getting to retirement age, and a lot of grandparents are coming to the school for activities and assemblies," he said.

"I know some of the high schools are getting them, but not many primary schools.

"What's the point of having one if people don't know it's there?"

The school also suggested stickers, a list and flyers to notify the public of the presence of a defibrillator at a given venue.

"The surf club, leisure centre, the bowling club, tennis club all have one," Mr Honeywood said.

A Kiama Council spokeswoman said the council would be willing to work with other organisations, such as St John Ambulance Kiama, to inform residents.

Revised guidelines for the deployment and use of defibrillators were released for consultation earlier this month by the Automated External Defibrillator Deployment Registry.

Theconsultation on the initial voluntary guidelines released in 2012.

After the review, several changes to the guidelines were proposed and industry and stakeholders are asked to provide feedback by April 4.

AEDDR chairman Dr Graeme Peel said while there is widespread support for defibrillators, it is critical to ensure they work when needed.

To provide feedback on the revised guidelines go online at aeddr.com.

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