Heart attack a big reality check

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When Dave Snow had a heart attack last year, it was a wake-up call for his workmates at Gillies Metaltech that they weren’t getting any younger either.

After a fundraising effort by staff, a defibrillator has been bought for the Gillies site, and will be available for anyone in Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct in case of emergency.

Gillies employ 35 staff, and on Friday two people from each department were trained how to use the defibrillator by registered nurse Kay Dennison.

Funding for the device came from a collaboration led by Mr Snow, when he returned from work after suffering from a heart attack last year.

“Instead of coming back, and jumping straight back into work we thought it’s better to have a nice project, and this was linked to his condition,” Mr Ward said.

“The guys, they know they’re not getting any younger, and certainly when Dave had his turn we got a policy on sight that if anyone presents with chest pain or respiratory problems our protocol is to ring an ambulance – it’s not negotiable.”

“We don’t mind paying the fee for the ambulance.”

Mr Snow said after his ordeal last year, he realised anyone could suffer from a heart attack.

“So it’s about looking after yourself and looking after the guys you work with,” he said.

That was then Gillies decided to be on the ball for any future emergencies, and fundraise for a defibrillator.

“We approached the company and said the guys would commit their time… and put that money into account to save up for a defibrillator and have it available for the whole precinct and the [Whitestone] Civic Trust.”

The employees at Gillies put in extra, unpaid, hours cleaning and collecting scraps, with money going into an account to save for a defibrillator.

“The guys were quite happy to do a few Friday nights and everyone wins,” Mr Ward said.

While it will be kept at Gillies, it will be available for the Whitestone Civic Trust if they are holding any events or in any case of emergency.

“Our idea was to fundraise for one and try and train as many people as we can to use it,” Mr Ward said.

About half of the staff at Gillies are now trained to use it.

“So if anyone comes in off the street and says ‘hey, someone’s had a heart attack’ there’s someone easily accessible to take it and go, because they have had that training,” he said.

“We’re a big part of the precinct, so anything we can do to help – we’re keen.”

To find out where other defibrillators are located in Oamaru visit www.aedlocations.co.nz and search “Oamaru”.

By Rebecca Ryan