Heartstarter on call
COFFS Harbour firefighters can now go into the heat of battle knowing they have a lifesaver at the ready.
The Coffs Harbour Fire Station has just taken delivery of an automated external defibrillator (AED) which uses an electric shock to restore normal heart rhythm.
"Most firefighter deaths on the fireground are caused by heart attacks," station officer Nat La Macchia said.
"The AEDs are being rolled out to fire stations across the State in a safety initiative by NSW Fire Brigades and the Fire Brigade Employees Union to protect firefighters on the front.
"It's an important piece of equipment, considering the hot and smoky condi- tions we work under.
"The temperature in burning buildings can reach 1500 degrees Celsius, and combined with the gear we have to carry, this puts a lot of stress on our bodies."
The station also has two new emergency trauma kits to help fire victims, while the Sawtell station also has an AED and a trauma kit.