AS part of a nationwide initiative, Taunton Town FC have acquired a defibrillator for the benefit of club and community.

A partnership between the Football Association and the British Heart Foundation has given football clubs at steps 1 to 6 of the National League system the opportunity to secure the life-saving piece of equipment, with two thirds of the cost being met by the FA and BHF and the final third by the club.

Staff at the club attended a course run by Devon and Somerset Fire Service in partnership with the British Heart Foundation Heartstart scheme, during which they were trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and how to use the defibrillator.

A defibrillator gives the heart a controlled electrical shock during cardiac arrest.

Research shows giving a controlled shock within five minutes of collapse provides the best possible chance of survival if CPR has been carried out as well.

Richard Flavin of the Devon and Somerset Fire Service said: “It is really positive news for both the football club and the local community that a defibrillator is now in place at the ground.

“There are around 100,000 cardiac arrests per year in the UK so the importance of having one close to hand cannot be underestimated.

“Without prompt CPR and use of a defibrillator there is no chance of survival for a cardiac arrest victim.

“The case of Bolton player Fabrice Muamba collapsing after a cardiac arrest two years ago really brought this issue to the fore and highlights how vital this piece of equipment can be.”

Club director Andy Power said: “The presence of a defibrillator at the Viridor Stadium will be of real benefit and reassurance to players, staff, supporters and community alike as you never know when one may be needed.

“The defibrillator will be located behind the bar so can be brought into action quickly if required, and we now have several staff members trained in using the equipment and how to employ life-saving CPR.”