Heart-starter numbers rise

Wilkinson Transport Engineers is the latest location in Cambridge to offer 24/7 access to an automatic external defibrillator. Pictured is HEARTSafe volunteer Alan Grant (left) and Ray Oxborrow, parts manager at Wilkinson Transport Engineers. Photo – Supplied.

Cambridge now has 17 AEDs – automatic external defibrillators – available to the public around the clock.

The latest, outside Wilkinson Transport Engineers, is in a lockbox in the entrance way of the Albert St premises.

Anyone who needs to use it can dial 111, ask for an ambulance, give the location of the AED and obtaining a four-digit code from the operator to unlock the box.

Wilkinson Transport Engineers is the latest location in Cambridge to offer 24/7 access to an automatic external defibrillator. Pictured are HEARTSafe volunteers Alan Grant (left) and David Milson (right) with Wilkinson Transport Engineers parts manager Ray Oxborrow, next to the sign on Albert St which alerts users to the location. Photo – Supplied.

Generally, ambulance staff are the best people to use an AED, says Alan Grant from HEARTSafe Cambridge, but because the devices contain spoken instructions – any bystander to a cardiac arrest can fetch the nearest AED and do their best to save someone’s life.

“If you’re waiting for the ambulance, don’t just do nothing,” said Grant. “Survival rates are generally only 15 percent, but if someone having a cardiac arrest can be treated with quality CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] and have an AED applied to their chest within five minutes of the attack, their chances of survival rise dramatically.”

The Carter’s Flat AED is one of 60 AEDs in Cambridge and the surrounding rural area and all are funded or partially funded through HEARTSafe Cambridge.

Grant said the group had been working over the past few months to add more community AEDs to areas around Cambridge. Six were recently introduced at Karapiro, Piopio, Cambridge High, St Kilda and St Andrews, as well as red “AED” street signs to indicate where they are.

The locations of all the AEDs can be found at www.aedlocations.co.nz.

There are plans to soon add further units at Cambridge Park and Tauwhare.

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