Canberra’s light rail fleet now has a defibrillator on all of its vehicles thanks to a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Aurora Gungahlin.
The funding of nearly $60,000 for the initiative was provided entirely by the Club and sees one portable defibrillator per light rail vehicle. In total, 15 defibrillators were donated – 14 for light rail and one for an emergency vehicle.
Laurie Abrams from the Rotary Club of Aurora Gungahlin said they will potentially purchase another two for the community but are yet to decide where to locate them.
“When I was president last year, we were after a program which was significant and provided support to a large number of people in our community,” he said. “After talking to St John Ambulance we found out there was a shortage of defibrillators in the Gungahlin area.”
Mr Abrams said they also learned that there were no defibrillators on light rail and, given the number of passengers it carries, it seemed a good fit.
The portable defibrillators will be placed securely in the driver cabins of the light rail fleet. All light rail drivers and customer service officers are first aid trained and will be able to operate the units.
St John Ambulance ACT CEO Bianca Russell welcomed the donation and reiterated the importance of having defibrillators accessible in “as many areas as possible”.
Defibrillators can assist with survival rates in a cardiac arrest and, according to Ms Russell, “the chance of surviving without a defibrillator decreases by 10% every minute”.
“The more we can get them out into public spaces, the more people’s lives will be saved.”
While members of the public are not likely to have to take control of the defibrillators on light rail, Ms Russell said if the situation arises elsewhere, each unit is “designed so that anyone can grab it and use it”.
“Grab it from the wall, open the lid and it will talk to you immediately and tell you what to do step-by-step,” she said.
St John Ambulance will help to maintain each of the defibrillator units to ensure they are in peak working order ready to be activated in a medical emergency.
St John Ambulance trainers will be on site demonstrating how to use defibrillators on Friday 21 February at Gungahlin Marketplace near Lowes Menswear at 3.30-7.30pm.