The Community Defib Project recently celebrated an exciting milestone, installing its 20th AED (automated external defibrillator) in the Hawkesbury local government area.
On Saturday, July 17, new AEDs were placed: on the corner of Comleroy and Blaxlands Ridge roads, Blaxlands Ridge; Upper Colo Road, Upper Colo; and Cedar Ridge Road, Kurrajong.
The project was founded in 2019 by Hawlesbury resident and paramedic Sophie Wills, who serves a group chair.
It started with the aim of having just one AED installed for the Wisemans Ferry community.
With the success of the project, in August 2020 the project expanded to include Maroota, St Albans and Spencer as part of a pilot for the project.
It now reaches more than 15 communities, with more than 100 community members volunteering their time.
An AED, also referred to as a defib or defibrillator, is a device that can be used to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest victim.
Cardia carrest occurs when the victim's heart stops beating blood around their body. Immediate intervention from bystanders is required. Those assisting must "call, push and shock", which translates to: call for help; push on the chest hard and fast; and shock with the nearest defibrillator.
It is said that with every minute that passes during a sudden cardiac carrest without a defibrillator, the victim's chance of survival is reduced by seven to ten per cent.
The other 17 AEDs placed by the project are located at:
- Webbs Creek Ferry Crossing, Wisemans Ferry;
- Sackville Ferry Crossing, Sackville;
- 335 Settlers Road, Lower Macdonald;
- corner of Wright's Creek and Settlers roads, Wrights Creek;
- Macdonald Valley Public School, Central Macdonald;
- 602 Chaseling Road South, Leets Vale;
- Del Rio Riverside Resort, Leets Vale (out of order following the floods);
- 251 Greens Road, Lower Macdonald;
- corner of Wollembi Road and Wharf Street, St Albans;
- 1056 Upper Macdonald Road, Upper Macdonald;
- St Phillips Church, 1737 Upper Macdonald Road, Upper Macdonald;
- 42 Walmsley Road, Lower Macdonald;
- 533 Wollembi Road, St Albans;
- 139 Wollembi Road, Fernances;
- 49 Gorricks Run, Upper Macdonald;
- and 1389 Upper Colo Road, Upper Colo.
"The uptake in the Hawkesbury LGA has been incredible," said Ms Wills. "The communities within the Hawkesbury can see the value in the project and have been supporting it.
"As a Hawkesbury Local I know how special this community is, I know how much of a privilege it is to live where we do. But we also must be realistic about how far we are from help.
"We must come together as a community to create a more prepared and safer community. That's what the Community Defib Project is about. We're here to give you the tools to prepare your community to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest and possibly save a life."
Ms Wills thanked the regional team leaders for their passion for the project. They include: Gillian Jessup (St Albans), Richie Benson (Cumberland Reach), Rod Cumming (Upper Colo), Melissa Barry (Blaxlands Ridge), Tanya Little (Sackville-Ebenezer) and Chris Dickinson (Oakville-Maraylya-Pitt Town).
She said the following groups also deserved recognition: Transport for NSW, the NSW Government, Del Rio Riverside Resort, Juniors on the Hawkesbury, the Macdonald Valley Association, Hawkesbury City Council, WFR Real Estate Agents, Foran Industries, Mania Constructions, MCC Constructions, Johannsen Chittick Trust, Pollard Civil, Landman Family, Brodie Family, Sun Family, Community Bank North Richmond & Districts and Richmond and Arbor Escapes.