Goondiwindi gets Critical Defibrillator

Lifesaving equipment ensures a community can thrive, while staying active and safe.

The Goondiwindi Triathlon Club applied for a grant under the Rural Doctors Foundation Grants for Good Health to buy a life-saving defibrillator. This services the town as well as the annual Hell of the West triathlon.

The town of Goondiwindi sits on the Queensland-New South Wales border, along the Macintyre River. A predominantly rural town, with a great community feel, it has a population of approximately 6300 people. However, in February every year for the past 30 years, the town has been bursting at the seams. Out-of-towners and locals alike competing in the annual “Hell of the West” Triathlon.

The triathlon is held during the heat of the Queensland summer. It gets its name because of its gruelling course, which is Olympic distance and the soaring temperatures. The barometer can reach up to 38 degrees Celsius. The Hell of the West has a national profile. In the past it has brought up to 1000 competitors into the town. People widely agree it is the toughest and oldest triathlon in the State.

Goondiwindi has in more recent years  incorporated the event into a wider “Festival of Hell.” The event is a boon for the local community. Bringing thousands of health-conscious visitors into town to soak up the Goondiwindi vibes.

The need for lifesaving equipment

The Goondiwindi Triathlon Club takes every measure to ensure the safety of competitors. They start at first light before the worst heat of the day. They also have paramedics and qualified first aid volunteer officers on site. In 2014, despite these precautions, a young man competing in the event collapsed at the end of the race. Tragically, emergency personnel were unable to revive him. This was devastating for everyone involved.

The Goondiwindi Triathlon Club identified the need for an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) at the event. Relying heavily on funding and sponsorship to run the event, the Club applied for a Grants for Good Health grant to be able to support this need.

A safer Hell of the West event, and a safer town

Local doctor and member of the Goondiwindi Triathlon Club, Anna Carswell found out about the grant through her Rural Doctors’ Association Queensland (RDAQ) membership. She knew the Hell of the West event; its competitors and the whole community would benefit from acquiring this lifesaving equipment. The AED is available for the Triathlon itself as well as for general use by the wider community. It lives in a central location in town and supports sport and recreation throughout the year. The AED is designed for use by all members of the public.

Knowing the lifesaving AED is available for use in the community gives peace of mind to Goondiwindi.

Rural Doctors Foundation was able to fill the gap providing a town with this life saving equipment.

And keep confidence in the Hell of the West triathlon event for many years to come. Meaning the community can continue to thrive. With your support, we can help more towns, in more remote and rural areas. Through purchasing vital equipment and reducing the divide in access to healthcare.