Locals’ heartfelt purchase

Michelle Slater

Budgeree locals have banded-together in a community-initiative that will potentially save the lives of their neighbours, by purchasing a communal defibrillator.

Neighbours Ian Oldman and Cliff Duncan came up with the idea a few weeks ago when discussing the general age and relatively remote location of the bush community.

The pair decided to purchase a defibrillator from a home and electrical store to put up on an easily accessible paddock fence on private property for the locals to get to in an emergency.

Mr Oldman is a medical scientist and said he hoped the community initiative would encourage other bush localities to do the same thing.

“A sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone in the community, and this is also a reminder for people to update their CPR skills, as this is a key tool to keep someone alive,” Mr Oldman said.

The device is armed with an alarm which will alert the community if it is being tampered with, or if there is a medical emergency, and local emergency services will be told where it will be installed.

Mr Oldman hosted a session at his house last week to teach the neighbours how to use the device, which is fully automated and easy to use.

The Budgeree Hall is also about to install a defibrillator that will be located on the outside back wall of the building, and there will be a free community first aid session to teach people how to use it.

“This will service about 10 families at this end of the community, so with the one going up at the hall, we will be more defibrillators per-capita in Budgeree than anywhere in Gippsland.”

Budgeree Hall secretary Leanne Potter Budgeree said they purchased the defibrillator for the hall with a Victorian government sports and recreation grant, after a local had suffered a heart attack.

“The nearest defib is about a half hour drive away and it takes 40 minutes for an ambulance to get here. We really need a defibrillator to potentially save a life,” Ms Potter said. The Budgeree Hall defibrillator training session will be held on Sunday, August 4 from 9am to 11am. Entry is free but limited to 20 places. To book, see the Budgeree Hall Facebook page.