A 24/7 public access emergency defibrillator has been installed by the river in central Hamilton thanks to the efforts of sports clubs in the area.
The Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is in a bright yellow box outside Waikato Rowing Club. The box has a combination lock with the number easily available through the St John 111 phone system.
Waikato Rowing Club committee member Ron Satherley said there were seven clubs by the river along Grantham St under the Victoria Bridge.
"On a busy day — especially on holidays and weekends — there could be more than 400 club members in the area plus many other members of the public," he said.
There were other defibrillators available in the city but some of them were in premises that were locked after business hours.
"This one is available 24/7; I have had first hand contact with emergencies and what can happen on the river," Ron said.
"Our club has all ages from high school rowers to masters rowers in their 70s, so it is great to have this — fortunately it has not been used yet and we hope it stays that way.
Always call the ambulance first in an emergency; tell St John you have a patient recovering or a possible drowning and they will give you the combination lock number."
The AED has easy instructions in writing and in a recording.
The sevens clubs by the river — Hawks Athletic Club, Te Toki Voyaging Trust (Whaka Ama), Hamilton Rowing Club, Hamilton Marathon Clinic, Waikato Sportfishing Club, Waikato Dragonboats, and Waikato Rowing Club — were willing to share the $3500 cost of the AED.
Ron said after they received a substantial grant from both the Perry Foundation and the Hamilton City Council Community Funding Group each had to contribute only a nominal amount. Emblems New Zealand also contributed.