A LIFE-saving piece of equipment will benefit Pickering Town Football Club and the local community.

The club has been given a defibrillator, thanks to a partnership between the Football Association (FA) and British Heart Foundation (BHF).

As part of the partnership’s work, more than 900 defibrillators have been made available to clubs at steps one to six of the National League System, and clubs in the Women’s Super League to help save lives of people suffering cardiac arrest.

Pickering Town is the latest club to receive a defibrillator, giving players, staff and fans access to the equipment.

The club has also been supplied with information about hands-only CPR, as featured in a high-profile campaign by the BHF starring British actor and former professional footballer Vinnie Jones.

Two-thirds of the cost of the defibrillator was provided to the club by the FA and BHF.

Club chairman Keith Usher said: “This vital piece of equipment could prove to be the difference between life and death and it is a welcome addition to this club and its community. The FA and BHF have made it possible for Pickering Town to be part of the drive to improve the UK’s poor cardiac arrest survival rates.

“Along with CPR, a defibrillator is a vital link in the chain of survival and we are lucky that we now have the skills and equipment at the club to save a life.”

Awareness around sudden cardiac arrests was heightened when former England Under-21 player Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during the first half of an FA Cup quarter-final match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, on March 17, last year.

He received numerous defibrillator shocks both on the pitch and in the ambulance, but his heart had stopped for 78 minutes. Muamba’s story is remarkable because only about one in five people survive a witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK.

A defibrillator, also known as an automated external defibrillator or AED, gives the heart a controlled electrical shock during cardiac arrest.

For every minute that passes without CPR or defibrillation, chances of survival decrease by about 10 per cent.

Research shows that giving CPR and a controlled shock within five minutes of collapse provides the best possible chance of survival.

The British Heart Foundation has already helped place 11,000 defibrillators in the community since 1996.

Since the charity launched Hands-only CPR last year, more than 30 lives have been saved by the technique.