Firefighters lifesavers

Volunteer firefighters will be increasingly woken up in the early hours of the morning to attend heart and asthma attacks.

It is part of a new nationwide policy where fire services will now attend all life threatening, cardiac or respiratory arrests, together with St John Ambulance.

Before December, ambulance services had the option to request fire services to these events.

NZ Fire Service senior communications adviser Karlum Lattimore said the policy made sense as firefighters were trained in CPR and the use of defibrillators and were re-certified every two years.

"The faster someone can get to people to start CPR and use a defibrillator, the better their chances of survival."

The Fire Service had more than 430 stations around the country, many of which were closer to emergency locations than ambulances.

The Nelson Mail