IN an Australian first, a $15,000 “emergency tower” complete with a defibrillator and shark kit was officially launched at Pearl Beach on Tuesday.
The installation of the defibrillator comes after a backdown by Central Coast Council which initially refused to allow the Pearl Beach Safety Advisory Group to install it near the amenities block fearing it would be misused or vandalised.
The group, which raised $26,000 to buy four defibrillators for the area including one at the beachfront, continued to apply pressure on the council, enlisting the support of experienced emergency physician and founder of Take Heart Australia Professor Paul Middleton.
They also had the support of Robertson federal Liberal MP Lucy Wicks who secured federal government funding for a purpose-built cabinet to store the equipment.
Professor Middleton and Mrs Wicks were both at Tuesday’s official launch along with members of the safety advisory group.
“This all started with the sad event of a drowning at the northern end some two and a half years ago,” Pearl Beach Progress Association president Ross Christie said.
“We started talking about beach safety, about signs and rescue tubes and began an appeal for defibrillators and ended up raising $26,000. We now have four defibrillators and have had a bit of a battle with the authorities, but we achieved a successful outcome.”
The tower has a full “shark kit” including bandages, tourniquets and a space blanket and a fully monitored defibrillator, the first of its kind, inside the cabinet while rescue tubes are attached at the back.
Professor Middleton said he was passionate about improving the survival rates of cardiac arrest in Australia where only 10 per cent of the 30,000 people who suffer cardiac arrest every year survive.
What a great bonus for this beach, it seems quite expensive for the tower but we dont know all of the details. With shark attacks seemingly on the rise in Australia and cardiac arrest the biggest killer it is great to see the local area doing something. I feel that we also need to improve the amount of people with access to a defibrilator and also those that are completing first aid training in Canberra. First aid training is one of the best ways to learn how to deal with an emergency. Book in to a first aid training course in Canberra with Canberra First Aid and Training and receive a free first aid manual and cpr facemask. Its also the best first aid training in the capital.