Sacramento-area fire agencies last week unveiled a new mobile phone app that recruits passers-by to respond to cardiac emergencies.
The PulsePoint app is designed to alert ordinary citizens when someone nearby needs cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Those trained in CPR can then run over and begin administering aid before medical personnel arrive. Long delays in receiving medical help can mean the difference between life and death and can affect the quality of a patient’s recovery, according to Capt. Michelle Eidam, spokeswoman for the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.
“This will absolutely change the outcomes,” said Eidam, who is also a medic.
Eidam noted that even if bystanders don’t know the complete CPR routine, they still can help the stricken person by performing chest compressions to circulate oxygen in the body.
“Push fast, push hard in the center of the chest,” she said. “Even if it’s not the most perfect CPR, it’s still better than nothing.”
The PulsePoint app was launched in 2011 by Richard Price, a former fire chief in San Ramon. Price conceived the idea after a person went into cardiac arrest a few doors down from the deli where he was eating. Because he didn’t have a radio, the fire chief didn’t learn about the incident until after the fact.
“You can be very close to an incident and not be aware of it,” Price said in a phone interview. “I didn’t have a radio. I had a cellphone. So I wondered if you could use a cellphone just like a firefighter’s radio and notify people in the vicinity.”