Hearty boost for Rural Fire Services with new defibrillators
VOLUNTEER firefighters will be able to help heart-attack victims in an emergency much quicker with the addition of defibrillators on all rural and regional fire service vehicles.
Firefighters met with politicians at the Rural Fire Service Summit in Twin Waters this morning to announce the state-wide investment in Automated External Defibrillators in all new Rural Fire Service vehicles, beginning in July.
Noosa volunteer Ian Pike has been with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services for 38 years, and said the defibrillators were a much-needed investment for those hard-to-reach communities.
"I have seen instances where we needed defibrillators on site first-hand,” he said.
"One of my friends actually passed away during training.”
The AEDs are a simplified machine that is extremely light and portable.
Staff and volunteers will receive training on the devices, but where needed in an emergency, a member of the public may also be allowed to use the defibrillator without any concern of public liability.
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said rural areas had been crying out for these machines, and the investment would help save lives.
"We all know in Queensland that we are a diverse state. There is a lot of distance sometimes between paramedics, our people and members of the public in times of need,” he said.
Mr Crawford is a former paramedic, who has used defibrillators "hundreds and hundreds” of times, and has seen first-hand how they save lives.
Also announced this morning was a plan to retro-fit existing Rural Fire Service vehicles with the defibrillators, to allow firefighters to operate at maximum capacity.
The initiative will see about 50 installations a year, at an estimated annual cost of $132,000.
Mr Crawford said the work the RFS did to cover the vast state was a life-saver.
"You cannot put a price on what the Rural Firefighter Service saves, and what they do,” he said.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services commissioner Katarina Caroll said the 1450 brigades around Queensland would benefit from the asset.
"They will have the opportunity to opt in, and I am sure that all brigades will opt in,” she said.
"It is about the safety of the community, and this is one addition to that.”