In the event of cardiac arrest time is of the essence.  With over 50 24/7 Community AEDs installed on Waiheke Island, those in immediate need of one will have a better chance of survival.
“I am a member of the community, who happens to be a health professional, who attended a first aid course and saw the need to get AEDs around Waiheke Island, because of the isolation factor and the realisation that emergency vehicles will not get to MOST places on the island within the time window to save a life, in the event of cardiac failure. I am also a member of Waiheke Rotary and have organised a committee to assist me.
The essence of the project is a proactive measure to ‘plug the gaps’ to help save a life and hopefully not be dedicated to the memory of someone who died and may have been saved…if only. Fifty 24/7 Community AED’s will cost around $178,000. I do not believe that this is an expensive project if it saves one life!
An AED (automated external defibrillator) is a device used in the event of cardiac arrest. It stops and restarts the heart into normal rhythm. Obviously, the more quickly this happens, the greater the chance of survival. When no AED is available, there is only a short, 3-5-minute window of time to restart the heart. This can be increased to approximately 10 minutes with effective CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation).  An AED at the right time is critical. On most occasions, AEDs arrive by ambulance, fire service or coastguard, however, if there are delays or someone is isolated, the outcome can be grim.
The Waiheke Rotary AED project has three elements:
  1. Identify the sites that need an AED, and facilitate their purchase, installation and ongoing support.
  2. Promote the use of the ‘AED Locations’ smartphone App.
  3. Organise free AED training to the community.
We have negotiated bulk prices for the AEDs, including ongoing costs (pads and batteries). We also, at present, have organised Waiheke-based first aid trainers to provide free AED training to the community.
Our team has analysed the current distribution of AEDs on the Island, which includes 96km of coastline. In prioritising our strategic plan, we have also taken into account land-based and coastal needs, as well as considering population density and isolation.
We have identified over fifty sites that are ideal landmarks for a community-based AED, to be housed in a secure stainless-steel lockbox, meaning that it will have 24- hour, seven day a week access to anyone in the vicinity that needs it. The purpose of the lockbox is to secure the AED to ensure it is not stolen or tampered with. The access code to open the lockbox will be provided by the 111 Operator, in the event it is required. You can also know the code. The project also aims to convert existing AEDs into 24/7 Community sites.
AED: The AED that we have selected is an iPAD SP1 semi-automatic. This has an adult/child switch and uses the same set of adhesive pads. A child requires a lesser shock than an adult. Other AEDs usually have a child and adult set of pads and you choose the appropriate one (too hard!!). The battery needs replacing every five years. The pads need changing every three years (if unused). If used, the pads need replacing.
Storage: The lockbox is made entirely from 316 grade stainless steel, so it will last. It is approx. 14kg, so it is also robust. Its purpose is to protect the AED from being stolen or tampered with and importantly provides 24/7 access, a CRITICAL component of the project. The elements I am using for site selection are visibility, accessibility and security. The lockbox provides the security, so it needs to be visible for someone trying find it and accessible with a good light source at night and, also free from obstructions. 
Training: Part of our project is to provide free AED training to the Community. We are providing monthly training sessions at the Waiheke Bowling Club and we can also arrange free onsite training on Waiheke.
Publicity: The sign for the AED has a section to acknowledge the donor/sponsor. We are promoting our 24/7 sites on the Waiheke Rotary website. We are also advertising with a fortnightly advertorial in the Waiheke Weekender. We also have the AED listed with AED locations. 24/7 sites will soon be in green on AED locations, differentiating from restricted access sites, in blue.   
Ongoing maintenance: The Waiheke Rotary AED Committee will fundraise for all the ongoing costs of 24/7 Community AEDs through our project, including batteries and adhesive pads. We will also do regular maintenance inspections, helping to ensure the AED is in continual working order.
We have been working on this project for almost two years and since the lock-boxes arrived from the UK in early August 2017, we have installed thirty seven 24/7 AEDs. We have also provided Waiheke Police with three mobile AEDs for their operational vehicles. We have also facilitated the purchase of four 24/7 sites in Auckland. We are still seeking donor sponsorship for a further 20 sites. Each site costs approximately $4000 (depending on the size of the sign and installation). Usually the AED itself is $3300.
Neil Harding,  Co-ordinator Waiheke Rotary AED Project