Lifeguard Jess Costello (left), with St John paramedic Andrew Mumford, installed the new defibrillator

Lifesaving aid for Mangawhai

by Paul Campbell

A new public defibrillator has been installed at Mangawhai Heads Reserve in a joint project between the Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Lifeguard Service Inc and St John Ambulance.

The AED, automated external defibrillator, is located on the exterior of the public toilet block after the club’s chief lifeguard instructor Jess Costello worked with St John Ambulance paramedic Andrew Mumford to provide the safe and easy-to-use machine, which is used to treat sudden cardiac arrest.

“The machine is accessible to the public 24hrs a day, and if people need to use it they just call 111 and NZ Emergency Services will give you a code to unlock the device,” said Mr Mumford.

“The placement is crucial for saving lives. Survival rates from cardiac arrest are around 13% in New Zealand, but the use of an AED within three to five minutes of collapse can increase the chance of survival by up to 44%.”

Ms Costello said the defibrillator was one example of the continuing MHVLS involvement in the area, working alongside Northland Regional Council with regard to the tsunami and civil defence protocols for Mangawhai and how the club would be involved in the case of a natural disaster. The club has also been working with NRC’s harbour master with regard to bar crossings and incidents and has also expanded its after-hours response capacity to Te Arai and Bream Tail.