Kudrinko’s takes safety to the next level

Neil Kudrinko and staff member, Monique Byrne, accept a Public Access Defibrillator from David Dargie of St. John Ambulance Brigade of Leeds-Grenville and Lanark. Kudrinko’s in Westport is now one of the few retail spaces to have a defibrillator installed.

Neil Kudrinko and staff member, Monique Byrne, accept a Public Access Defibrillator from David Dargie of St. John Ambulance Brigade of Leeds-Grenville and Lanark. Kudrinko’s in Westport is now one of the few retail spaces to have a defibrillator installed.

Kudrinko’s Ltd. got a special delivery on Tuesday morning – one that could save lives.

A Public Access Defibrillator is now installed at the independent grocery store in Westport, Ont., from the St. John Ambulance Brigade of Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.

Owner Neil Kudrinko said the machine was an investment into the safety of the store for its customers, which makes sense when considering the sheer number of people who shop at the local business.

“We estimate that about 10,000 people per week walk through the store in the summer months,” Kudrinko said. “We’ve had a few instances where someone is in medical distress in the store, so we wanted to be proactive and make this extra commitment to our customers.”

The St. John Ambulance Brigade provides community service and training which improves the health, safety and quality of life for residents of the Brockville, Smith Falls, and 1000 Islands area. David Dargie, Caring for Our Community Capital Campaign Co-ordinator with the local St. John Ambulance Brigade, said that having a defibrillator at a retail space is exceptional. “That’s progressive,” he said. “Having a defibrillator on site at a grocery store is really cutting edge.”

Kudrinko said not only is the Public Access Defibrillator installed near to the cash area, but half of Kudrinko’s staff is now also trained in CPR and automatic electric defibrillator use.

Dargie said it’s that kind of dedication that could prove essential to saving lives. “As awareness grows in terms of how lifesaving they can be, more community organizations, municipalities and now retail spaces are jumping on board,” he said, noting that the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville is aiming to create a map which showcases the location of all defibrillators in the region. “We aim to make these as popular as fire extinguishers.”

He points to an incident earlier this year in Brockville, Ont. when a man was saved by use of a defibrillator after he collapsed at a local arena. Dargie said as people become cognizant of how effective the Public Access Defibrillators can be, the St. John Ambulance Brigade is seeing an increase in people getting equipped and trained for their use.

Distributing the defibrillators is only a small part of what the St. John Ambulance does in the community. Celebrating its 55th year in 2014, St. John Ambulance Brigade of Leeds, Grenville and Lanark offers a full range of first aid, CPR and even marine medical first responder services. In addition, it has served area residents through providing training, therapy dog services, youth services, and car seat safety services. Learn more at www.sjabrockville.org.

Kudrinko said he is glad to partner with the St. John Ambulance Brigade so the defibrillator can be in place at Kudrinko’s in Westport, as part of the store’s ongoing commitment to its customers. To find out more about the unique initiatives unfolding at Kudrinko’s, click here.

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