"It was a vision that has become a reality for Gulgong."
In a 'huge' step forward in potentially saving the lives of many, Gulgong Heartbeat unveiled the town's first 24 hour automated external defibrillator (AED) on November 25.
Gulgong Heartbeat, which launched in April, is on a mission to "make Gulgong a safer place to live, work and visit" according to chairman Rob Barton, who confirmed another three 24 hour AEDs will be installed by Christmas.
"If you had asked me at the beginning of the year if we would have one 24 hour AED, I'd have said 'I hope so'. To be able to have four is absolutely overwhelming, the support from this community has been phenomenal," Mr Barton said.
"My wife and I were in New Zealand a couple of years ago. When we checked into the hotel, they gave us a map and on that map of the town was listed the location of every AED. I came back and said we have to do something like this in our town.
"I also have a cousin who dropped dead from a cardiac arrest, he was 54. That shocked me."
As founder of Heart of the Nation, Greg Page made the trip to Gulgong on Thursday to attend the "landmark event".
During his speech, the original yellow Wiggle spoke of his experience with AEDs after suffering from a sudden heart attack during the group's bushfire relief concert in Sydney on January 17, 2020.
Mr Page commended the efforts of the Gulgong Heartbeat committee - Rob Barton, Paul Fookes and Bruce McGregor - and those who have contributed to the initiative, and added that the installation of the device is a "huge step forward for Gulgong".
"You can't predict who's going to go into cardiac arrest, you can't predict when it's going to happen and where they're going to be, so having them [AEDs] available in the community is going to give you that little bit of assurance," Mr Page said.
"It's one of those things you would rather have and not need than need and not have."
Mr Page and Mr Barton spoke of the importance of the public utilising the device should it be needed, especially when 1 out of 10 people don't survive an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest.
"It's not about just having AEDs accessible, it is about people gaining the confidence and competence to actually use them," Mr Barton said.
"We need our Ambulance service but what we also need is more people having access to all the links in the chain of survival before the Ambulance arrives," Mr Page added.
"Any attempt at resuscitation is better than no attempt. You don't have to be trained or qualified to use the AED, those devices are pretty much self working, you've just got to help them do their job.
"The people who saved my life with an AED had never used one before so don't ever be afraid to use one on someone in need, you might just save a life."
The 24 hour AED is located out the front of McGregor Real Estate which can be located via the Heart of the Nation app.
There are currently 11 AEDs available during business hours in Gulgong.
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