A Call for Essential Safety Gear in our Village!


garysylvaneyWed, 21/10/2020 - 1:04pm

From Gary Sylvaney

Two years ago, I raised with the then Hall Committee the need to provide an on-site defibrillator at the Community Centre.

Our village populations median age is 59 yrs. (Median means having equal numbers above and below this number). Of course, heart failure for example can occur at much younger ages but can be expected to show an increasing risk as we age. Given our demographic, a defibrillator must be considered a critical piece of life-saving equipment

Two Ambulance Stations are listed as servicing North Arm Cove, Tea Gardens,19 klms. and Buladelah, 37 klms away. From resident experience, the earliest response time is 15 mts from Tea Gardens, can be up to 30 mts. Or if you are very lucky, an Ambulance could be passing on the M1. 

Let us look at a theoretical situation. A function at the Hall. An attendee suffers a serious heart attack that results in heart failure. No pulse, no breathing, their heart has stopped or fibrillating (disruption to normal heart rhythm).  Just by chance (a very fortunate one) someone present has first aid training and immediately commences Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. An emergency call is made for an Ambulance. When the call is redirected to Tea Gardens Station it will take at least 15-17 mts to reach NAC. If CPR is commenced within 4 mts. vital organs will be maintained with oxygen. This is critical, if defibrillation (an electric shock to restart or bring it back to normal rhythm) is commenced within 8-12 mts. then chances of survival are significantly improved. Conversely, without this intervention chances of survival or survival without vital organ damage are significantly reduced. On arrival, the Ambulance Paramedics can then take over with their advanced skills and equipment to maintain the patient and ensure safe removal to a hospital.

I believe the designation of the Community Centre as a “Place of Last Resort”, by Emergency Officials in the situation of a catastrophic fire situation has added to the critical importance of ensuring basic medical equipment and these days Defibrillators are not seen as a luxury item. They are a central part of basic life-saving equipment. Just look on any sports ground.

In the event of a major fire and our one road closed for example, there is no guarantee one of our two RFS Vehicles will be available to assist (each vehicle carries a Defibrillator). Without road access and no emergency jetty (another story), timely medical assistance may not be available.

Training in CPR and Defibrillator use is not difficult and could be easily taught to volunteers in our community. I am sure there are enough civic minded Ladies and Gentlemen who would like to develop basic lifesaving skills. Skills they can apply to their family lives.

So, I put the call our again to the new Hall Committee and to NACCAI. What project could better serve the interests of our ageing community?

Just one life saved would make this effort so worthwhile.                                                            

That one life could even be our own!




Thinking outside the square. Great suggestion Grant. Could help fast track this, it has taken far too long. Further reason if it were needed. A line of vehicles unable to enter or leave our village this afternoon for a period due to the only road in closed due to flooding from a rain storm.

The Community Centre Committee has had the aquisition of a defribulator on the agenda since late in 2020. The Committee have been searching for a grant opportunity.

At the last NACCAi meeting I stated that the Committee was looking for sources of funds to resolve this issue, and that at present we only have the coffee shop as a solution which would take some time.

A grant is available that requires the organisation contribute 50% of funding.

This is a year of uncertainty for raising funds, the Centre has not been able to conduct fundraising events due to COVID restrictions, and there is uncertainty in planning for future events.

I am positive that a funds can be found between the grant, NACCAi and the Committe funds.

Training is not a problem there are already people identified to provide initial and ongoing training.

A plan need to be in place for the use of the defrib for the community.


Last year Bob and I were staying at a caravan park in Sapphire Queensland. The local ambulance crew held a talk on how to use a defibrillator. They said that caravan parks were a good spot to get participants in the target age group.Since time is critical, another senior is often the first person on the scene and they need to be to be confident to use the device. We could get a similar course here- not a full first aid course but just a lesson to demystify the use of a defibrillator. All we need to do now is find out if there is any funding available to purchase one and decide where to put it.

Do we need one? Many years ago we had a helicopter try to land on our block. A man down 5 doors had had a heart attack. The helicopter was too late. A defibrillator may have given him a chance.




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