You might think an ice cream vendor couldn’t save your life, but when it comes to Central Otago’s Mr and Mrs Whippy, that’s actually the case.

Franchisees Steve (above) and Linda Mitchell, who frequently park up in Queenstown, have become probably New Zealand’s first mobile food vendors to carry heart-starting defibrillators, which they’re trained to use.

Steve says the idea stemmed from a heart surgeon they met at Wanaka Challenge three years ago.

He believes it’s a useful community service because they attend a large number of events and weddings – and almost 2000 NZers a year suffer a cardiac arrest outside hospitals.

Steve adds that many defibrillators are stocked by businesses and so aren’t available outside business hours.

Meanwhile, ahead of Restart A Heart Day, next Wednesday, local St John area committee chair Joanne Conroy suggests people get an app on their phone – either GoodSAM or AED Locations – that, when you activate it, locates their nearest defibrillator.

She’s also advising businesses with defibrillators to get their batteries checked to ensure they’re not flat.