App Links First Responders to Heart Attack Victims

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, the app uses GPS to locate the closest CPR-trained person

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    PulsePoint/County News Center

    There’s an app for almost anything. A new app claims it can even save lives.

    On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt the PulsePoint app.

    New CPR Guildines

    [DGO] New CPR Guildines
    Paramedics Reema Makani and Marc Alnwick demonstrate the American Heart Association's new guidelines for CPR. Catherine Garcia reports. (Published Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012)

    Here’s how the app works:

    People trained in CPR and on AED devices would sign up for the program. When someone goes into cardiac arrest, the app uses GPS to locate the closest CPR-trained person. That person would get an alert of his or her smartphone, with a map to find the victim and the closest defibrillator.

    This could keep a person alive in the time it takes an ambulance to arrive, according to a statement from Supervisor Ron Roberts, who co-wrote the proposal with Supervisor Bill Horn.

    Although people in the program are already paramedics, doctors and other trained professionals, the statement says they will be treated as private citizens when responding to alerts. That means they're protected under California’s Good Samaritan Act, which says people can’t be sued for performing CPR in good faith.

    The app is expected to cost the county anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 in startup costs and $5,000 to $7,000 annually to operate, according to Roberts. Now that the app has been approved, the county will start looking for grants so that money won’t come out of the General Fund.

    The county will also start compiling a comprehensive list of where all AEDs are located in public.

    According to the American Heart Association, cardiac arrest in the leading cause of death in Americans over 40, but CPR from a bystander could double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

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