Two more rural communities now have access to a crucial lifeline following funding help from the Rotorua Rural Community Board.

Kaingaroa Forest Village and Atiamuri people will now both be able to access a defibrillator within minutes, raising the chances of survival by 40 per cent in the event of a heart attack or other emergency.

Earlier this year, following a request for help to replace Kahaora's defibrillator, Rotorua Rural Community Board sought expressions of interest from communities keen to see the life saving tool in their own villages.

Both Kaingaroa and Atiamuri jumped at the offer.


Kaingaroa Forest Village Councillor and Fire Chief Ken Austin said it was great to have the defibrillator in a central location at the fire station.

"This is a community asset and we will be looking to hold some training in the next few months for anyone who is interested in learning how to use the defibrillator.
The defibrillator was presented to Austin and colleagues Denise Takahi and Ramesh Keshmav this week.

The second defibrillator was delivered to Upper Atiamuri School to be kept on site for the community to use in case of emergencies.

Upper Atiamuri School Principal Judith Smallbone and Board of Trustee member Maurice Forlong said knowing a resource was locally available was reassuring.

"We recently held a community First Aid course and there was interest about having resources available locally, and we looked at ways to raise the money to get them.

"If something happened it would be nice to know that we had the defibrillator close by and we were able to do all we could to help," said Forlong.

The defibrillators were purchased using the devolved funding which is allocated to the Rotorua Rural Community Board to help meet its objectives for the rural communities of Rotorua.

The board determine eligibility of projects based on the overall objectives and the resulting benefits to each community.

Rotorua Rural Community Board chairwoman Shirley Trumper said helping to source defibrillators for these communities fits with the board's Ten Year Strategy.

"One of the six key focuses we set was community wellbeing. The board sees funding these defibrillators as a great fit for that objective."

Why Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are important:
• Each year more than 2000 New Zealanders will suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital
•For 64 per cent of cardiac arrests a bystander will perform CPR
•People may show no warnings or prior symptoms and 15 per cent survive to hospital discharge following a cardiac arrest
•Use of an AED within 3-5 minutes of collapse can increase the chance of survival by up to 40 per cent