Wellington on its way to being a heart-safe town

I am very excited about a push going on in Wellington to get more automated external defibrillators (AEDs) installed around the town.

AEDs are an incredible piece of life-saving equipment that can help when people go into cardiac arrest. In recent years these devices have become more portable, more affordable and are seen as a viable option for businesses and organisations to have on a premises.

George Chapman of the local branch of the Red Cross has been a driving force behind getting Wellington to be a heart safe town.

Some may have heard of George from his efforts in Dubbo, playing a leading role in getting dozens of AEDs in place across the city, including in a number of Council-owned and run facilities.

That campaign was so successful that there is now an AED located every couple of minutes in the CBD. It was a pleasure to present Dubbo with the Citizen of the Year award in January for his amazing efforts.

I spoke to George after he got his award and told him that Council has also installed AEDs at a number of facilities across Wellington. Since then, he has made it his new goal to get the devices installed across not just Wellington but also all the villages in the region.

This is a wonderful commitment and something that will make an amazing difference. There is no doubt they save lives. One at the Nita McGrath Netball Courts was used in February with a positive outcome.

Time is absolutely critical when someone suffers a cardiac arrest. The first couple of minutes are the best chance of survival and having AEDs closely available can be the difference between life and death.

They are incredibly sophisticated, and can diagnose and administer assistance when required. They can be operated by anyone, regardless of whether they have had training or previous experience.

Already George has 14 AEDs listed as being installed in Wellington, including Council locations such as the DRC administration building, the Macquarie Regional Library, the Visitors Information Centre, Showground, Wellington Caves and Wellington Pool.

He is currently talking to local businesses and others within the Wellington community to work out where they are required, who can help to fund them and other logistics.

These devices cost more than $2000 but for businesses and organisations with large workforces or high volumes of people, it can be a priceless lifesaver. George is doing very well so far and I look forward to following his progress.

Being the relentless pursuer of a good outcome that George is, he has been talking to people in the villages such as Stuart Town, Mumbil, Eumungerie, Ballimore, Geurie and Wongarbon. He is seeking donations from the community to help fund AEDs but Council is also looking into ways it can assist.

My belief is the local hotels would be a suitable location in each of these villages because they are open more often and for longer hours than almost any other business. That way people would know where one was located in the case of an emergency.

I would like to recognise the great work George is doing and encourage anyone he approaches for assistance to help him where they can.

Last Edited: 19 Jun 2019

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