Eastside Dairy in the Whanganui East shopping centre now houses a piece of kit that may help save lives.

A defibrillator, or Automated External Defibrillator (AED), has recently been provided for people to use after several cardiac arrest incidents in the area.

St John Whanganui territory manager Jamie Butler said ambulance officer Hamish Buchanan had taken the initiative to get a defibrillator for the shopping centre after he and another staff member responded to an alert from the GoodSAM app and found there was no defibrillator available.

The GoodSAM app alerts emergency service personnel and first aiders to cardiac arrests, meaning trained people nearby can respond immediately while an ambulance is en route.

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Buchanan talked to Safer Whanganui about the need for a defibrillator at the Whanganui East shopping centre and they assisted by finding a company to pay for one.

The company does not want to be identified. The local business community then stepped in and agreed to fund ongoing maintenance of the device.

"It's been a great community act," Butler said.

"It's a sizeable donation to put the machine in place. It's good that the community has stepped up and assisted. It's a piece of equipment that can be life saving so having them located in areas that people can access is really important."

Whanganui has more than 50 defibrillators that can be used by people to treat someone undergoing cardiac arrest.

The location of AEDs around New Zealand is available at www.aedlocations.co.nz