LIFE-SAVING equipment has been handed out in Cumnock to combat long ambulance waiting times.

It comes as more than 1,000 volunteer first aiders across Scottish communities have gained access to the new life-saving defibrillators (AEDS) thanks to a recent St Andrew’s First Aid programme.

Around 3,000 casualties each year will have resuscitation attempted after a sudden cardiac arrest in the community, but only around one in 12 will survive to hospital discharge.

Crucially, incidents in rural areas of Scotland will benefit from the investment as they normally wait longer for an ambulance to show up so every second counts.

St Andrew’s First Aid purchased 180 defibrillators at a cost of £180,000 as part of its mission to create anation of life-savers.

Cumnock and Doon Valley are set to receive six of the defibrillators.

The charity’s volunteers provide first aid cover at more than 2,000 events across the country each year.

These will be distributed to the 44 St Andrew’s First Aid companies across Scotland to replace, but in some cases supplement, the 80 AEDs the charity provided to its volunteer groups in 2011.

Stuart Callison, chief executive of St Andrew’s First Aid, said: “ St Andrew’s First Aid are committed to making sure the people of Scotland are kept as safe as possible at any event or community that we have membership in.

“No-one should die because they needed first aid and didn’t get it.

“This is a huge investment for the charity, but we believe it is worth every penny to ensure our volunteers are working with the best and most up-to-date equipment, to allow them to carry out roles effectively and efficiently.”