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Teesdale Community Comes Together to Save Lives

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Geoff Wild and Bill Hughes (Leigh Valley Lions), Jodi Bloink, myself (Kellie Dines) and Dale Smithyman (Teesdale Hall Committee).

THIS week saw the culmination of a community effort spanning 18 months to have a Public Access Defibrillator installed at the Teesdale Community Hall. The first to be made available in the township, its installation is the direct result of residents and community organisations pulling together and demonstrating what can be achieved with positive intent and determination. Were it not for that determination, this may well have been just another one of those small town projects that falls by the wayside.

“This was no easy task,” says Kellie Dines who coordinated the effort “For starters, we had a brilliant idea but no funding to make it happen.” So, Kellie and Jodi Bloink (who instigated the idea due to the lack of emergency health services in the area) put a call out to the friends and neighbours for assistance.

After months of raising the necessary funds via donations, Kellie and Jodi then had to navigate a series of frustrating alterations to emergency services protocols that would have prevented the location of the AED being made available to residents when calling 000. Further still was the additional government agency red tape, issues of how to insure the unit, negotiating the best location for installation and access that would ensure the safety of both the unit itself and the people who may need to use it, protecting the AED from vandalism and funding ongoing maintenance. Finally, with the help of the Teesdale Community Hall committee, Leigh Valley Lions, Teesdale General Store and Teesdale Pharmacy, that initial idea has been realised and the local residents are now equipped with a fully operational Defibrillator. “It has taken a long time, much longer than we had hoped or imagined, but we know that we have done it right and are just so thrilled that the AED is finally in place and ready to use,” says Kellie with justifiable relief at the project’s completion “We have read all of the data and seen the clear evidence that these machines DO save lives…now we just hope that it is never needed!”