Don Duffus (right), group officer Hervey Bay Rural Fire Brigade, with Hervey Bay RSL president Phil Cannane, after the brigade’s successful application for a defibrillator. With them are Keith Gibson, Glennis Kelly and Noelene DeVere.
Don Duffus (right), group officer Hervey Bay Rural Fire Brigade, with Hervey Bay RSL president Phil Cannane, after the brigade’s successful application for a defibrillator. With them are Keith Gibson, Glennis Kelly and Noelene DeVere. Alistair Brightman

Don fights for defibrillator

DON DUFFUS wouldn’t take no for an answer when he inquired about fitting the Hervey Bay Rural Fire Brigade with a defibrillator.

The group officer was told by his area manager that it was not policy and he would have to take his case to the commissioner of the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service.

So he wrote to the commissioner highlighting the importance of maintaining the wellbeing of volunteers.

“We used paragraphs from his zero harm policy to argue the case,” Mr Duffus said.

As a result the commissioner has revised the policy with the Hervey Bay Rural Fire Brigade the first in the state to win approval to be fitted with a defibrillator.

With a helping hand from Hervey Bay RSL, the “very latest” in defibrillators – worth $4000 – was bought.

“We took the commissioner’s advice and went for the dearest,” Mr Duffus said.

“The average age of our volunteers is 60 which puts us in the prime risk category for cardiac arrest.

“Fighting fires is fairly stressful on the cardiovascular system.”

Acknowledging the pressure on the ambulance service, he said this would provide peace of mind when the brigade was on a job “30 or 40 minutes into the bush”.



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