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Rowing club invests in community safety

MORE than 30,000 Australians suffer from sudden cardiac arrest every year, of which only about five per cent survive.

However, recent research shows that this alarmingly low survival rate can be dramatically improved if an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is applied within minutes of the cardiac arrest.

The Derwent Mercantile Collegiate Rowing Club, based on the banks of the Derwent River (opposite the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens) wanted to ensure its members had access to one of these life-saving machines.

And, thanks to the State Government, they now do.

Local Liberal Member for Clark Elise Archer recently visited the clubrooms to hand over the new AED.

“When suddenly and unexpectedly a heart goes into cardiac arrest, having a defibrillator deliver an electric current within the first few minutes is critical,” Ms Archer said.

“The chance of survival after a cardiac arrest declines by up to 10 per cent a minute, so early access to an AED is life-saving.

“The cost of an AED is often outside the reach of many not-for-profit and community-led organisations, so assisting clubs like the Derwent Mercantile Collegiate Rowing Club is an important investment in community safety.”

The Derwent Mercantile Rowing Club was established in 1965 and was then joined by St Michael’s Collegiate School in 1996 to become the Derwent Mercantile Collegiate Rowing Club.

According to St Michael’s Collegiate School rowing coordinator Courtney Blyth, the club is used on a daily basis, with more than 200 members and volunteers using the facilities.

“In addition to on-water rowing, the club has a well-equipped gym, which is utilised daily,” Ms Blyth said.

“With a large number of members exercising at high intensity, including masters’ rowers and members, it was identified how beneficial it would be to have a defibrillator on-site.

“Without the support of Minister Elise Archer and Premier Will Hodgman in making this grant available through the Premier’s Discretionary Fund, our club would not have been able to purchase an AED device for some time.

“We are sincerely grateful for this grant, and while we hope we never have to use the device, it gives our members great comfort knowing it is on-site and easily accessible.”

The location of existing AEDs is available at www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/ambulance/community_information/eadp.

Caption: From left, Collegiate open rowing team member Olivia Viney, Collegiate rowing coordinator Courtney Blyth, Liberal Member for Clark Elise Archer and Collegiate open rowing team member Georgie Sullivan.

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