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A new lifesaver for Lansdowne

The team behind Lansdowne’s new community AED: Donna Campbell (registered nurse, First Health and Wellness), Neeri Ramchundar (former practice manager), Sandy Ryan (deputy chairwoman, Lansdowne Residents Association), Trish Wilkinson (First Health founder and nurse) and Ben Seddon (operations manager, WIZwireless). PHOTO/LYN PATTERSON

Erin Kavanagh-Hall
[email protected]

The First Street Village in Lansdowne is the latest Wairarapa location to have its own life-saving community defibrillator.

Just before Christmas, a brand new automated external defibrillator (AED) was installed outside the First Health and Wellness Centre on First Street: made possible by the initiative of the centre’s staff and support from the community and businesses.

The AED was the brainchild of First Health founder and nurse Trish Wilkinson and former practice manager Neeri Ramchundar – who began seeking sponsorship for a community defibrillator for Lansdowne last year.

Lansdowne, they said, was the perfect candidate for an AED, thanks to its expanding population and busy village hub.

The Lansdowne Residents Association provided the bulk of the funding for the AED, with Wellington Free Ambulance and rural broadband provider WIZwireless also providing sponsorship and support.

WIZwireless installed the AED, as well as funding the signage and a cabinet in which to house the device, while Wellington Free Ambulance will be responsible for ongoing servicing and maintenance.

AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) – analysing a person’s heart rhythm and, if necessary, delivering an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.

SCA is different to a heart attack (which is commonly caused by blood circulation issues) in that it results from electrical disturbances in the heart.

Research shows that, on average, only about 15 per cent of people survive SCA – but, if a defibrillator is used within three to five minutes of collapse, survival rates can be as high as 70 per cent.

Sandy Ryan, deputy chairwoman for the Lansdowne Residents Association said having an AED on First Street, an active hive of activity, “just made sense”.

“We know that cardiac arrest can happen anywhere: while you’re having coffee, at a beauty appointment, or getting fish and chips,” Ryan said.

“The First Street Village is always busy, so it makes sense to be prepared.

“Plus, there are three rest homes in Lansdowne, and a large percentage of older people in the area.

“It’s a great investment for the community.”

Lansdowne’s new AED is one of more than 80 community defibrillators in Masterton alone.

As with many community defibrillators, anyone needing to use the First Street AED can call 111 and be given a PIN number to open the door to the machine.

The machine then provides automated voice prompts on how to use it, including how to deliver a shock to the person if needed.

Ryan, who sourced the funding for the AED for the Lansdowne Residents Association, said First Health plans to offer community training sessions on using the device – with support from the Red Cross and Wairarapa Hospital.

“We have a strong community of businesses in Lansdowne – and it’s important businesses and staff feel confident to use the AED.

“Defibrillators save lives – no two ways about it.”

Anyone who would like to attend a demonstration on how to use the AED can contact First Health and Wellness Centre at [email protected].

  • More information on where to locate an AED in Wairarapa can be found at aedlocations.co.nz.

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