Publicly accessible defibrillator at the Dunsborough Police Station

St John Ambulance volunteer Stuart Ratcliffe, Dunsborough Lions Club secretary Kaye McCormick and Dunsborough Police officer in charge sergeant Jane Gillham.
St John Ambulance volunteer Stuart Ratcliffe, Dunsborough Lions Club secretary Kaye McCormick and Dunsborough Police officer in charge sergeant Jane Gillham.

A publicly accessible defibrillator has been installed on the wall outside the Dunsborough Police Station thanks to the local Lions Club.

St John Ambulance volunteer Stuart Ratcliffe said they were very grateful to the Dunsborough Lions Club for donating the defibrillator.

"It is not just for the police it is available to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as a publicly accessible defibrillator," he said.

"That brings a total of 24 publicly accessible defibrillators in the Dunsborough district area.

"We wanted this one at the Dunsborough Police Station because we felt at St John Ambulance that all the emergency services buildings in Dunsborough should have an accessible defibrillator.

"The concept was that emergency services where often the first thing people thought of in an emergency."

Defibrillators can be used when a person experiences a cardiac arrest to help put the heart back into a normal rhythm.

Symptoms of a cardiac arrest were usually identified by unconsciousness, no breathing and no response.

Mr Ratcliffe said until a defibrillator arrived, CPR should be started on the person immediately. When the defibrillator arrived to the patient it could be applied straight away.

"Defibrillators are very easy to use and come with instructions, they tell you what to do as soon as you turn it on," he said.

St John's First Responder smartphone app has locations of publicly accessible defibrillators which could also be used to alert first aiders who were in the vicinity of an unfolding emergency.

The app also allows people to dial triple zero and provides GPS coordinates to help paramedics easily locate the patient.

Mr Ratcliffe said it wasn't always possible for St John to arrive on the scene of an emergency immediately because they were all volunteers at the Dunsborough depot.

He said volunteers had to get to the ambulance station when they were called in and take five minutes to prepare the ambulance before they could attend an incident.

"Even in Dunsborough's town centre it could take 10 to 15 minutes before an ambulance arrived to a patient, if it is way down in Wilyabrup it could take 30 minutes to get there," he said.

"The aim is to have defibrillators generously spread so most people can get to one in minutes."

Dunsborough Police officer in charge sergeant Jane Gillham said it made complete sense to have a defibrillator at the station and thanked the Lions Club for paying for it.

"In times of an emergency, police are often the emergency service that people turn to first no matter what the emergency," she said.

"We are usually the first stop because we are around 24/7 and we're not volunteers.

"Where we are on the roundabout in Dunsborough there is a lot of passing traffic, if something terrible did happen in the vicinity the first turn would be the cop shop."