Published Friday, 20 September 2013
Drivers in the city will now be carrying specialist equipment in their taxis and have been trained to respond to heart attacks and other medical emergencies.
Twelve taxi drivers have had defibrillators installed in their vehicles as part of the first responder scheme.
It's the first scheme of its kind for Northern Ireland and it's hoped it will save lives.
Eammon O'Donnell of North West Taxis said: "Drivers have been in many situations where people have collapsed, in the street or outside nightclubs.
"Now they are trained and equipped to deal with medical emergencies until ambulances arrive."
The taxi drivers involved have volunteered to be trained in resuscitation and will work closely with the ambulance service.
Paramedics will attend all emergencies, however, taxi drivers, it's hoped, will be better placed to provide care in the first instance which will help to increase survival rates and reduce recovery times.
Frank Orr from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service explained: "Whenever someone collapses and their heart stops beating, minutes are vitals, every second counts.
"Whenever someone first collapses ultimately they will need advanced medical care but they will also need CPR.
"We have up to 10,000 emergency calls in this city every year and of those about 800 fit the criteria that would allow first responders to help."
Dr Brian Sweeney from Western Urgent Care added: "A 999 call is made and an ambulance with paramedics on board is dispatched but also taxi drivers who are driving around the city will get the call and if they are available and in the vicinity they will also respond."
Eammon O'Donnell added: "We are there so we might as well be trained to make an intervention if needed.
"Every second is crucial."
© UTV News