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FIRST Union organiser Shirley Walthew said the store's social club had raised funds to pay for the $1300 defibrillator about three years ago, after one of their colleagues died from a heart condition.
‘‘We're a bit astounded by [management's] behaviour,'' she said.
‘‘The staff thought they were doing a good thing by doing something on site that could assist a staff member or customer in trouble.''
Staff were ‘‘quite upset about it'', she said.
In an email leaked to the Otago Daily Times, Bunnings New Zealand manager Jacqui Coombes said the defibrillator was removed because ‘‘as a group, we do not hold defibrillators at our stores''.
‘‘There are a number of reasons for this, including maintenance of the units and the availability of trained team to operate the units,'' she wrote.
‘‘When you look at [data of accidents and near misses] and factor in the number of Bunnings sites, this means there is a 0.26% chance of a store experiencing this type of event.
‘‘Therefore, the overall risk is very low.''
But Deckman director Paul O'Driscoll, a regular Bunnings and PlaceMakers shopper, said he was considering boycotting Bunnings' Dunedin store if the defibrillator was not reinstated. It was removed about five weeks ago.
‘‘I was [annoyed] when I found out about it,'' he said.
‘‘Some ... person from Auckland comes down and says, that's not the way that Bunnings does it. And I'm going, ‘Excuse me, this is health and safety'.
''When the defibrillator was placed in the store, ‘‘I thought, well this is great for the community''.
‘‘It saves peoples lives.''
Contacted yesterday, both Mitre 10 and PlaceMakers confirmed they had defibrillators in their Dunedin stores, and in various other locations around the country.
In response to a request for comment, Bunnings New Zealand marketing manager Valerie Staley said: ‘‘We take safety extremely seriously in our business.
‘‘Bunnings stores are located in well-populated areas that have ambulance services and medical facilities easily accessible,'' she wrote in an emailed statement.
‘‘Additionally, each store has team members who are qualified in first aid and able to provide CPR if required until medical assistance and an ambulance arrives.
‘‘For these reasons, we do not have defibrillators in our stores,'' the statement said.
The Dunedin team ‘‘have been asked to donate this equipment to a local community group, for example surf life-saving, where there is a much greater likelihood of it being required and used.
‘‘Naturally, we are recompensing the store team to cover the investment they made in the defibrillator,'' Ms Staley wrote.