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Dunedin-designed First Aid Pod aims to give pop-up privacy in emergency situations

If you’ve ever been involved in an emergency in a public space, you’ll know that privacy is often desired for both the person under duress and the first aid responder trying to help. Three Dunedin retail workers had seen it happen all too often, so they’ve created the First Aid Pod – a pop-up tent that provides shelter and all the medical gear necessary to deal with such a situation.

First Aid Pod operations manager Tony Watts says that while working in retail, medical emergencies would happen and there would be no way to contain an area or provide privacy to the person in need.

“With tens of thousands of customers coming through the door of our supermarket every week, we’ve witnessed many medical events. It was an ongoing issue that we couldn’t provide privacy, shelter or contain the area and we’ve watched our colleagues become flustered and in need of some basic first aid prompts,” he says.

He searched online for a tool or product that would solve this problem, but found nothing – so First Aid Pod was born.

Craig Latimer, Braedan Trompetter and Tony Watts are the founders of the Dunedin-based company, which designs and manufactures an instant, pop-up shelter that can be placed over a person in need, while also providing guidance for first responders and emergency services.

Watt says it’s the first of its kind in the market. The pod is floorless so it can be easily put up and taken down and includes a 57-piece first aid kit. The side of the tent and carry bag has basic life procedures known as DRSABCD printed on them to help give guidance in case someone is lacking in first aid knowledge, or feeling flustered and under the pressure.

Pak’nSave, New World, Foodstuffs South Island, Fletcher Building and Westfield Riccarton are among the local businesses using the pods. Retailers’ feedback so far has been great, with many saying it provides privacy and dignity for people in stressful situations, such as a woman who had vomited and collapsed in a store, while also keeping customers away.

But the design also has applications for outside of stores – it is U.V. and water resistant, comes kitted out with features that help in the outdoors, including an emergency survival blanket, a CPR mouth piece and ground pegs.

 so far, NZ Ski has agreed to trial the pod this winter on its ski fields, while Dunedin-based Workplace First Aid Training is using it in their courses, while several councils and schools are also on board.

Enterprise Dunedin has been advising the company on its next steps, with First Aid Pod being assigned a mentor to help grow the company. A US launch is also imminent via Amazon.

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