By Robert Muir
Increased use of defibrillators for clubs and schools is expected after two public meetings in Rutherglen last Wednesday.
Ambulance Victoria officers conducted the meetings at Rutherglen Senior Citizens Club at 3:00pm and 7:00pm regarding the use of defibrillators.
“We were pleased with the result, there was a great deal of interest,” Vice President, Neighbourhood Watch Rutherglen Ray Nolan told The Free Press.
“Everyone was enthusiastic. A lot of people wanted to know more and how to get an ambulance officer to their club.
“It was very good attendance at the first meeting (34), the evening one wasn’t as well attended but 16 did attend.
“It was really encouraging the meetings, with a message that it’s no good if a defibrillator is locked away and only available during set times that a business can be accessed.”
“Ambulance Victoria reps commented that the turnout was particularly good for a small town like Rutherglen.
The ability to access a defibrillator was emphasized by Mr Nolan who predicts that all three schools in Rutherglen would benefit by Ambulance personnel visits as soon as possible on how to use a defibrillator.
The two free information meetings were arranged by Neighbourhood Watch Rutherglen to familiarise local residents with the use of three public access defibrillators recently installed along the town’s Main Street.
The locations are IGA Supermarket, Miegel’s Pharmacy, and Pickers Café and Collectables. All are monitored by 24-hour CCTV cameras.
“The defibrillators were purchased and installed after Neighbourhood Watch members realised there was a need for immediate 24-hour access to help for our residents,” Mr Nolan said.
Ambulance Victoria has revealed that Rutherglen’s local government area, Indigo Shire, was at the bottom of the list of response times for Code 1 incidents.
Before Neighbourhood Watch’s concerted fundraising which realised $7,500 for the three Main Street defibrillators, there were 10 defibrillators in Rutherglen, all owned by businesses, clubs and associations and were only available during the limited times when their buildings were open.
“So Neighbourhood Watch Rutherglen set out to raise the $7500 needed to buy three defibrillators for 24/7 public access,” Mr Nolan said.