Page 4331 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 25 October 2017

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ACT Emergency Services Agency—equipment

MS CHEYNE: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Could the minister please update the Assembly on progress to install automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs, in front-line vehicles across the Emergency Services Agency?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Cheyne for her question and her interest in safety across our community. Automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs, are being rolled out to ACT Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service vehicles as part of a joint ACT government and federal government initiative under the natural disaster resilience program. This boost means that all ACT emergency services vehicles will be fitted with AEDs, providing life-saving equipment to our professional staff and volunteer services.

Once the rollout has been completed, all ESA front-line emergency vehicles across the four services will be fitted with AEDs. Over time, this could result in the saving of many lives, with the assistance of emergency service staff and volunteers. The recent rollout has included 68 AEDs being installed in Rural Fire Service vehicles and 23 in State Emergency Service vehicles, seeing a total of 91 additional AEDs available for use by our emergency responders.

I was recently able to inspect the installations and updates to the current fleet at the ESA headquarters. I also recently attended the international Restart a Heart Day event at the ESA training centre. Both events were a great opportunity to remind Canberrans to find out more about AEDs and CPR procedures. The inclusion of AEDs on all front-line vehicles is just one of the improvements the ACT government has made to the resources available to the Emergency Services Agency to assist them in protecting and saving the lives of Canberrans.

MS CHEYNE: Could the minister advise what training is provided to ESA’s staff and volunteers in the use of AEDs?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Cheyne for her supplementary. All ESA staff and volunteers undertake training to a high standard. This training is aimed at keeping our emergency services personnel safe and providing effective and immediate assistance to the community in any circumstances. AEDs are designed to be user friendly, and training in their use is covered in all basic first aid courses. All ESA frontline responders receive training in first aid and CPR, which includes the use of AEDs and the ability to direct others to use them.

One of the benefits of AEDs is that they can be operated by anyone, including members of the public with limited first aid training, if the situation demands it. ESA members are provided training in incident management, so in cases where it is necessary to instruct or assist members of the general public, they can do so in a professional and efficient manner.

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