Fairton plant defib remains handy

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Fairton School principal Mike Hill (left) accepts the defibrillator from the plant's last manager Dylan Marsh.

A defibrillator that once saved the life of a Fairton meat worker is being donated to the community the mothballed meat plant once served.

Silver Fern Farms and workers at the plant jointly bought the defibrillator, which was “only used once in anger”, said personnel officer Francis Renner, who will have his last day at the plant next Wednesday.

On the occasion the defibrillator was used, a worker on the slaughterboard suffered a heart attack. The defibrillator was used to restart his heart and he was airlifted to Christchurch Hospital by helicopter.

The man still works for Silver Fern Farms, now in Hokitika.

The Fairton plant was shut down in 2017 and has been sold to Talley’s.

Mr Renner said the company and former workers wanted the defibrillator, worth about $5000, to stay in the Fairton community and considered Fairton School the best spot. It was presented to the school yesterday by the last plant manager Dylan Marsh.

Principal Mike Hill said it was great the special equipment would be available for the Fairton community. It will be sited for access, even when the school is closed.

“We think it is a really good idea it stays in the community for the benefit of the community, though you hope you never have to use it.”