Pam Burridge hopes she never has to use the defibrillator she now carries in her surf van, but she feels better having it on hand.
The surfing instructor says she and other surfers pull many swimmers out of rips every summer and have averted countless potential drownings at unpatrolled beaches.
While she hasn’t had to perform CPR on anyone, Pam says she has come very close.
Also a trained volunteer surf life saver, Pam mentioned to a group of her surf students that she would like to have the heart-starting device on hand, particularly as she is often surfing at secluded beaches such as Bendalong.
So the group of Ulladulla High School teachers, that call themselves the Surf Princesses, decided to fundraise for the life saving device.
Teacher Trish Karaboikis said the group held morning tea fundraisers at the school, had a movie night and held collections at their post surf breakfasts.
The 10 ladies raised $800 and approached the Ulladulla-Milton Lions Club which happily kicked in the balance to purchase the $2350 defibrillator for Pam’s van.
“Pam has saved people in the past and has said that it would be a good item to have on hand to save lives,” Trish said.
Pam told the Times defibrillators could mean the difference between life and death for anyone that goes into cardiac arrest.
She said had prevented parents from entering the surf to rescue their children in trouble as they often panicked and became the victims of heart attacks on the beach.
“I’ve seen some pretty close calls and definitely prevented drownings,” she said.
“Having the defibrillator in my van means that if anyone goes into cardiac arrest at a remote beach, like Bendalong, I can help them until paramedics arrive.
“If a defibrillator and early CPR is used within the first 10 minutes, the chances of the person surviving increases significantly.”
According to Surf Life Saving Australia, defibrillators, in combination with CPR, have been known to increase the chance of survival by up to 60-70 per cent compared to manual CPR alone.