FIVE East Lancashire supermarkets are among the first in the country to put life-saving defibrillators in place.

Asda stores in Lancashire have joined forces with the North West Ambulance Service to trial the devices.

Defibrillators are a lifeline for people suffering cardiac arrests, or other heart-related problems, in public places.

They come equipped with an internal computer and automated voice, which guides users through every step, making them useable by anyone – even if you have not had a familiarisation session.

They monitor heart activity once pads are fitted to the patient, and instruct the user based on the readings they take.

The equipment also internally self-tests and provides a clear indication with a green, or red, light whether there is any fault.

The Asda supermarket hosts will be fully trained on the daily checking procedures.

Members of the community resuscitation team at NWAS have already visited the stores to conduct defibrillator familiarisation sessions with store staff.

The stores are in Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley, Colne, and Rawtenstall.

Mary Whyman, chairman of NWAS, said: “The defibrillators save lives. The Resuscitation Council (UK) strongly recommends the implementation of early defibrillation in cardiac arrests and, through widespread deployment of defibrillators, we can help reduce mortality rates.

“This is an extremely positive step taken by Asda and we welcome its partnership.”

David McNally, community resuscitation development manager, said: “In the event of a person suffering cardiac arrest, quick action can be taken to give the patient the best chance of survival. It is proven that in every minute that passes without intervention, the chances of survival decreases by 14per cent.”

Richard O’Mahoney, store manager at Asda Blackburn, said: “Supermarkets get thousands of people through their doors each week and, like any other public place, there can be rare occurrences of cardiac arrests.

“The North West Ambulance Service has responded to around 2,000 call-outs at Asda stores in the region in the past 12 months, so we have seen the amazing work they do first hand.

“We felt it was important to support NWAS however we could, and protect the health of our customers.”