A POTENTIALLY life-saving app has been introduced by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust is the first in the country to launch the app, which locates the nearest automatic external defibrillator (AED).

The technology could help someone save the life of a person having a heart attack.

It identifies more than 600 AEDs in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire, and shows where the nearest equipment is, providing the address, building name and exactly where in the building the device is located.

SCAS is working on identifying which of these are available 24 hours a day.

The app provides clear and simple guidance on how to perform CPR on adults and children.

Professor Charles Deakin, SCAS divisional medical director and chair of the advanced life support committee, European Resuscitation Council, said: “Statistics show that in cases of sudden cardiac arrest outside hospital, only one in 10 people survive.

“However, when bystanders provide CPR and use AEDs before emergency medical services personnel arrive, as many as four in 10 victims survive.

“This innovative new app from South Central Ambulance Service is, therefore, a real lifesaver.

“Modern AEDs are incredibly simple to use, even a child could do it, and the ability of people to be more confident in giving CPR and to quickly locate their nearest AED and use it on a person suffering a suspected cardiac arrest could save thousands of lives each year.”

Mark Ainsworth-Smith, consultant emergency care practitioner at SCAS, said: “Over the past year, voluntary ambulance staff, businesses, community groups and charities have been busy raising the £1,850 it costs to buy each AED.

“We would encourage the public to let us know of any new AED locations or indeed if they wish to purchase an AED for their community.

“We can then make sure that it is included in the AED location information that we hold. As a result, we now have over 600 NHS approved locations of AEDs across our four counties.

“The final piece of the jigsaw was to create a free, easy-to-use tool that lets people find their nearest one in an emergency – and the app we have developed does exactly that.”

The AED Locator for iPhone and iPad can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes Store.

Versions for Android and Blackberry operating systems are currently in development.