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Wednesday 6 September 2023 | Written by Joanne Holden | Published in Crime, National


Life-saving device stolen in Arorangi
Brent Fisher instructing a police officer in basic first aid. An automated external defibrillator at Raemaru Park in Arorangi was discovered stolen on Friday. 21071403

A life-saving device which uses electric shock to restore the heartbeat of a person suffering a cardiac event, has been stolen from Raemaru Park.

Cook Islands safety advocate Brent Fisher discovered the automated external defibrillator at the Arorangi sports ground was missing when he went to replace the electrode pads on Friday.

Fisher – who is part of Cook Islands safety groups Heartbeat Resuscitation, Road Safety Council, and Water Safety and Surf Lifesaving Council – believed the device had been stolen by “kids” in the past month.

“A defibrillator could save the lives of your mamas, your papas, your parents, your siblings,” Fisher said.

“It’s a really low thing to do, to take something like that. It’s no good to anybody hidden away, and it won’t hurt anybody.”

Fisher said the device was publically accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week because locking it away could cost somebody their life.

“We had a case where they needed to revive somebody and couldn’t get to the nearest defibrillator, so they had to go to the next one – it was this one [at Raemaru Park], actually.

“By the time they got back to the person, they couldn’t save them.

“It’s very important that these devices are close by.”

Of the about 70 defibrillators installed on Rarotonga and eight on Aitutaki over the past nine years, only one other had been stolen, Fisher said.

A defibrillator was nicked near Trader Jacks a few years ago, but the device was never recovered and a new one was donated to fill the spot, he said.

The Raemaru Park defibrillator had been donated by Prime Foods, he said.

“We’re always looking for sponsors.”

Fisher and the Cook Islands Red Cross Society provide training on how to use a defibrillator, though the devices provide voice prompts while in operation so even somebody with no training can use one.

The battery in each device lasted about four years, while the electrode pads needed to be replaced every two years.

Joanne Holden