AED availability boosted by business initiative

Dummy run . .. St John’s Marie Smith begins CPR and defibrillator training with Paula Kenworthy. PHOTO: NICK BROOK

Life-saving automated external defibrillators (AED) are becoming far more common in the community and the latest has been installed at Caltex Balclutha, along with a free training course.

‘‘What do you do when someone just collapses?’’ store manager Paula Kenworthy said. ‘‘Anybody can have a health crisis anywhere at any time, so it makes sense to be ready.’’

With recorded, step-by-step voice instructions, AEDs are designed to be as easy to use as possible but free one-hour training courses can be booked by contacting St John’s ambulance services.

‘‘With defibs starting to show up all over the place, we’d like to see AED confidence as widespread as CPR, but the training doesn’t need to be a comprehensive first-aid course,’’ St John community engagement administrator Rachel Barraclough said.

Trainees learn ‘‘Three Steps for Life’’ on the course: Call 111, check Airway-Breathing-Circulation in preparation for CPR, and how to operate an AED to save lives.

‘‘We’ve been working with St John to encourage every Caltex in the country to get an AED,’’ Balclutha branch owner Jared McPhee said, ‘‘It makes sense for businesses to have these defibs standing by for our community because our community is our business.’’

There are already about 20 AEDs in businesses and public spaces in Balclutha, and apps and websites such as ‘‘AED locations’’ indicate where the nearest can be found in an emergency.