LIFE-SAVING equipment is to be provided at key locations in York thanks to the work of a fundraising charity and a local business.

York Vikings Rotary Club, with funding support from local Insurance Broker D E Ford, has bought four defibrillators at a total cost of £5,000 for the city centre. A defibrillator can play a vital role in saving lives, by giving the heart an electric shock in some cases of cardiac arrest.

Mark Inman, ambulance service head of emergency operations, said: “For every minute that passes without defibrillation, chances of survival decrease by 14 per cent. The devices need to be located strategically and where it’s difficult for an ambulance to arrive quickly. Unfortunately, our city centre has currently only a handful of units installed.”

Three key sites have so far been selected for the equipment – The Theatre Royal, Minster School and the Grand Opera House.

Mark, whose team will take responsibility for management of the defibrillators, said: “They’re robust and require little in the way of maintenance.

“When a 999 call for an ambulance is made our operations team will determine whether urgent interim action is needed until the ambulance arrives.

“The caller will be told where the nearest defibrillator is located, and will be given simple instructions over the phone on how to use the machine.

“Paramedics will then arrive and take control of the situation. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that these four devices will save lives.” Tony Botting, President of York Vikings Rotary Club, said: “We’re determined to support the Ambulance Service to make our city centre a safer place for citizens and visitors.

“This initial action, hopefully, is the first step in defibrillating York.”