Hawke's Bay could become the first region covered head to toe with heart defibrillators if the pilot scheme initiated by the Royston Health Trust is a success.

Royston Health Trust has teamed up with the Order of St John to strategically place heart defibrillators (AEDs) across the region.

Royston health trustee Rhod Murray said the emergency resuscitation tool has proved to increase the chance of survival by up to 40 per cent.

"If someone's heart stops then CPR can help by pumping the heart but it won't actually restart it. AEDs are essential for this process."


Mr Murray said the trust realised it could make a difference after finding out New Zealand was 10,000 AEDs short.

"We all got around the table and decided to begin the pilot scheme, which we hope to expand if the first 35 purchased are well received and accepted.

"We hope to go right through the bay from Wairoa to Dannevirke. We have a large number of outlying areas such as Otane and Porangahau, which need AEDs to be available."

St John will be contacting business sites regarding the placement options of these 35 AEDs.

"St John will also do an induction and offer first aid advice in terms of CPR if the health officer of the businesses need it."

Mr Murray said the more public awareness the better so they were working on a design to ensure people recognised the defibrillators instantly.

"The current AED logo is green and no one recognises it, so we want to try and make it more obvious for people, so if someone walks in to Paper Plus for example they'll notice a defibrillator on the wall straight away."

The trust has agreed to fund the AEDs' upkeep by changing the "paddles" every two years and renewing the batteries every four years.

It would then become the responsibility of the business sites to look after the units and St John would provide basic AED induction.

The trust hopes to have all the defibrillators for Hastings and Havelock North installed by Christmas.

Mr Murray was excited by the initiative and said it was really nice to be able to fund projects that would benefit the health of people in the region.

"This is the start of further collaborative initiatives with health providers and organisations throughout Hawke's Bay."