Public-access defibrillator for Hanalei is Kaua’i’s first

A grant got Hanalei the island’s first public-access defibrillator, and the community joined forces to teach people how to use it this weekend.

Hanalei’s Dr. Marilyn A. Roderick is the medical director for the project to bring to town the island’s first public-access, automated external defibrillator, used to shock people when they have cardiac arrest.

Classes on how to use the device were held this weekend at two Hanalei locations. A total of 15 people were trained in the proper use of the device, including security guards and others who work in public places.

Dave Walker, recently promoted to administrative battalion chief at the Kauai Fire Department, conducted the training. He assisted the Hanalei Community Association, the grant recipient, in offering the training.

Lifeguards, firefighters and others who already know how to use defibrillators will have access to the device when necessary, also, Walker said.

Roderick hopes Hanalei’s will be the first of many defibrillators to be positioned across the island. It was acquired via a grant from the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. and the American Heart Association of Hawaii.

The grant also covered the costs of training six people to use the device.

The Hanalei defibrillator will be located in a public place somewhere in town where anyone in need of it and trained in its use may come and get it in time of emergency.

Roderick said representatives of the Hanalei Community Association sent out mailings to town addresses, seeking names of people interested in being trained in use of the device. Many replied, Roderick said.

The training let attendees know how to recognize a cardiac emergency and respond quickly, as only around 5 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest live, according to the American Heart Association.

Death usually follows cardiac arrest unless a normal heart rhythm is restored within a few minutes. Defibrillation is the only known way to deliver an electrical shock to the heart.

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