A free CPR smartphone app aims to help San Diegans take a beat and save victims of sudden cardiac arrest, one of the leading causes of death in the country.
City and county officials teamed up Monday to launch the PulsePoint app, which alerts anyone with CPR training when someone in their area needs help.
Despite their best efforts, first responders often cannot get to a victim in time to save their life.
Because cardiac arrest has a small survival rate of 8 percent and time is of the essence, the app is designed to send a volunteer to a victim before paramedics can reach him or her.
The American Medical Response says you can triple a patient’s survival rate by doing CPR before an ambulance arrives.
The regional PulsePoint app informs users when and where paramedics urgently need help, gives basic CPR training and shows where the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED) is.
It also uses GPS to track and alert users of emergencies within a quarter mile.
“You’re gonna get the alert, you’re gonna respond, you’re gonna start those chest compressions, and then once the emergency responders get there, they’ll take over, and that’s going to increase survival,” said Mike Rise with the American Medical Response.
Residents can learn how to use the app and how to do compression-only CPR at the County Administration Center’s waterfront park until 3 p.m. or at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas until 4 p.m. Monday.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last December to adopt PulsePoint.
Other cities and counties across the country have activated the PulsePoint app, so if you’re on the road and you’ve signed up for the app, you may still get alerts when an emergency is within a quarter mile.
According to the Mayo Clinic, sudden cardiac arrest is so deadly because it is a fast, complete loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. It is different from a heart attack, which happens when a portion of the heart's blood flow is blocked.
However, heart attacks can sometimes trigger sudden cardiac arrest.