Council looks set to back down on defibrillator ban at Pearl Beach

CENTRAL  Coast Council administrator Ian Reynolds has ordered an immediate review of a ban on having defibrillators­ at Pearl Beach.

Pearl Beach Progress Association­ has been at loggerheads with the council over its refusal to allow it to install­ one of four defibrillators it owns in a highly visible and easily accessible location near the public toilets­.

The council maintained that a defibrillator at a nearby cafe and another at the tennis courts were sufficient. There were also concerns the defibrillators could be vandalised or misused.

Central Coast Council Administrator Ian Reynolds ordered an immediate review of the council’s ban on allowing defibrillators at the beach front.

However, it now appears the council has bowed to pressure after a community backlash over the decision.

It comes as emergency specialist and CPR expert Professor Paul Middleton backed calls for the defibrillators to be located in a more accessible location.

Prof Middleton, based at Sydney University and the co-founder of Take Heart Australia, weighed in on the debate after reading about the council ban in the Express Advocate.

He said every minute mattered during a cardiac arrest and the chance of survival dropped by 10 per cent for every minute.

“The council seems to be under the same misunderstanding as many, with concerns about complications,” he said. “They don’t understand these defibrillators have been designed to be used by someone who has never used one before.

Professor Paul Middleton from Take Heart Australia backed calls by the Pearl Beach Progress Association for defibrillators to be highly visible and easily accessed.

“Having it in a shop or somewhere else is not good enough, it needs to be available at a moment’s notice.”

A truce was called on Monday after Mr Reynolds ordered­ a review and a council representative contacted the association’s president Ross Christie to arrange a meeting tomorrow.

Mr Christie said he was hopeful the council would do a backflip on the matter.

“I am pleased we got some response finally,” he said.

“I have been at this for months.”

Dave Kennedy, Greg McPhee and Barbara Hastings, would like a defibrillator and surf life saving equipment at Pearl Beach. Picture: Peter Clark

The association was frustrated that the council killed off the project after it raised $25,000 to buy the defibrillators and secured a federal grant for a special cabinet to house one near the public toilets.

“It’s important that we get one near the beachfront,” he said. “People don’t choose to have a heart attack when the cafe is open.”

Banning defibrillators what an absolute joke, thank goodness someone has seen the light. These machines are amazing and give the casualty a much greater chance of survival. Please book in to our first aid course if you are unsure of how to use a defibrillator or would like to learn more about these devices. We have first aid course every week in Canberra and also come out and do private first aid courses for those who would like training in their own home or workplace. Contact us now for the best first aid course in town.

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