Devices proven to save heart attack victims’ lives have been installed at two Saugeen Shores beaches, thanks to a $2,400 donation from the Port Elgin Saugeen Township Beachers Association.
The automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that can diagnose life-threatening cardiac issues and treat them through defibrillation – a bolt of electricity which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm – have been installed for public use at Town’s washroom facilities at Gobles Grove Beach and the Beachhouse at Port Elgin Main Beach.
At both locations, signs point out the defibrillators – at the Beachouse it’s in the common area inside the roll-up doors, and in Gobles Grove, the defibrillator is in the women’s washroom entrance.
Beach user Channelle Gervaise, an Inverhuron resident who works in Port Elgin, said the device is handy and adds another layer of safety – but she hopes she never has to use it.
“I know there are simple instructions but I think it would be nerve-wracking for anyone to have to use it in an emergency. I’d like to think that if I needed it, someone would use it on me,” Gervais said as she enjoyed an afternoon at the beach June 9.
Beachers president Greg Schmalz said each year the membership – now standing at approximately 200 – chooses a community project, and the defibrillators were an easy choice after having a demonstration at the 2019 annual general meeting.
“We hope beyond hope that they never have to be used, but we know AEDs save lives,” Schmalz said in a June 9 telephone interview, adding this is the second devise installed at Port Elgin Main Beach – there’s already one at the Harbour Master’s office.