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• Kathy Smythe with Cr Mark Edwards

Defibrillators to use in the case of cardiac emergency are to be be made available on all Bay Islands Transit Systems ferries.

Cr Mark Edwards has been in consultation with BITS for the past three months in relation to the placement.

“I have been in negotiations with manager Deb Wilson who had to gain a number of legal clearances before she could give final approval.

“I am pleased to say this has now been resolved,” the councillor said.

The bid for life saving defibrillators came about following an incident late last year that saw Russell Island man, John Nevin Waters, collapse from a heart attack whilst returning home from work.

Despite the frantic efforts of BITS crewmen, including CPR, John did not survive.

His partner of 24 years, Kathy Smythe, was influenced to act, following the tragedy.

She saw the need for defibrillators on our ferries and sought out Cr Mark Edwards, who helped her formulate a strategy to ensure the life saving equipment is on all island ferries.

Kathy wanted to start the ball rolling by donating a defibrillator in John Waters’ memory.

Cr Edwards and Kathy believed local businesses and organisations might join in the fund-raising that would see the vital equipment placed on all our ferries, and crew trained in its use.

Since that time, several businesses and service organisations have come forward to offer support, with the Russell Island RSL Club keen to donate a defibrillator to the cause, as well as purchase a further machine for the club itself.

“We would also be happy to host any training and first aid courses that may be required involving BITS staff and/or the community, and contribute to annual maintenance of the devices,” club president Anthony Gleeson said.

The defibrillator most likely to be used is the Zoll AED Plus semi auto external. This unit has a seven-year warranty, three-year battery life and has the lowest cost replacement batteries.

Cr Edwards says that four units would be required so all operating boats had a defibrillator at all times.

He said he would also look to providing the life-saving devices for the Coochiemudlo and North Stradbroke Island passenger craft.

This could mean seven units may be ultimately required.

If any person, group or organisation would like to contribute, they might like to get in contact with Kathy Smythe at smythewaters@bigpond

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