The automated external defibrillator, like the one pictured here, was stolen from the Skaha Lake Boathouse for the second time in a year. (File)

The automated external defibrillator, like the one pictured here, was stolen from the Skaha Lake Boathouse for the second time in a year. (File)

Life-saving device stolen from Penticton paddler community for second time

It’s hoped that a new boathouse will be able to better protect the device

Beachgoers have another reason to look forward to a new Skaha Lake boathouse, after the automated electric defibrillator located there was stolen once more.

This is the second theft in less than a year, and the AED was purchased thanks to fundraising by Dragon Boat and Outrigger paddlers.

It’s hoped that the new facility, once it is completed, will provide better security for the AED while still keeping it accessible for people accessing Skaha Lake in the case of an emergency.

The thief didn’t just steal the defibrillator either, but smashed the unit’s special protective cabinet to pieces.

“After the first unit was stolen in May 2020, I didn’t feel comfortable putting up a second AED, for fear of it being stolen again,” said Don Mulhall, coach and race director for the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival. “It’s so frustrating because, as I said last time, a defibrillator is of absolutely no use to anyone besides someone requiring lifesaving support.”

READ MORE:Penticton Dragon Boat Festival hit by ‘senseless’ thefts

Last year Roger Hennig, owner of Action First Aid and a former Penticton Secondary School graduate, stepped in and donated a second unit.

“It’s an important location along Skaha Beach, and the unit has actually been used in a lifesaving attempt,” Hennig said. “We were glad to help the paddling community donate the AED to the City of Penticton both times, it’s just frustrating to see the units vandalized and stolen.”

With team paddle sports paused during Covid, paddlers are in the process of removing what remains of the cabinet from the front of the building – not wanting to give people false hope that there is an AED available at this time.

“We’re committed to providing this important piece of lifesaving equipment in the future, but we could use some help, and maybe some new ideas for keeping it safe,” said Mulhall.

Anyone looking to get involved with fundraising for the new boathouse or any paddling initiatives can contact Don Mulhall at don@pentictondragonboat.com, or by calling (250) 488-3100.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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