Albury gets a jump start on ‘heart’ program

Cr Henk van de Ven wants a defibrillator at the Library Museum and other buildings as a matter of policy. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

Cr Henk van de Ven wants a defibrillator at the Library Museum and other buildings as a matter of policy. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

ALBURY Council’s policy to install more defibrillators at the buildings it owns, including the Library Museum, has taken a big step forward.

It is installing the life-saving devices at venues that often attract large crowds and will update first-aid procedures to include instructions on how to operate them.

The Lauren Jackson Sports Centre is the only council-operated centre that has a defibrillator.

It was installed in 2012 and came with an accompanying program that included training, signs and a replacement battery. The machines cost $3000.

A defibrillator helped save the life of Ovens and Murray Football League Hall of Famer John “Shorty” Martiniello last Saturday when he had a heart attack while umpiring a reserves match between Benalla and Rochester.

The Albury Council’s finance and administration committee chairman Henk van de Ven yesterday said Albury needed more defibrillators.

“The most important part is training to use them properly,” he said.

“They have proven to be effective.

“You can go right back to Kerry Packer, whose life was saved by a defibrillator.

“They do save lives but, obviously, the training goes hand-in-hand.”

The council will also urge the business chambers to promote the presence of defibrillators in workplaces.

Many first-aid officers who work for the council receive training in how to use defibrillators in their annual CPR refresher training.

Good samaritan provisions of the NSW Civil Liability Act are considered strong enough to protect the council and staff from being sued for operating the machines.

Cr van de Ven said there was an opportunity for the council to be viewed as a community leader in the widespread presence of defibrillators.

Tamworth, a similar council, has two units at its headquarters and a community centre mostly used by the elderly.

Both locations are staffed by trained first-aiders.

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