Lifesaving CPR App Adopted in Los Angeles

PulsePoint sends messages to people's cellphones when someone is having a cardiac emergency


 
 

The Daily News of Los Angeles | | Friday, February 1, 2013


LOS ANGELES -- 'PulsePoint' app, which helps people get lifesaving CPR, coming to L.A.

Smartphones, already used to alert us of such pressing matters as sports scores and new Facebook posts, could soon help save lives in L.A.

The Los Angeles Fire Department will soon begin using an application called PulsePoint, which sends messages to people's cellphones when someone is having a cardiac emergency nearby.

The hope is that people trained in CPR will install the app, see the alerts and be able to start life-saving treatment before paramedics arrive.

Sometimes, after they see an ambulance pull up, bystanders wish they had known someone needed help, said Capt. Tom Gikas, who works in the Fire Department's Planning Section.

"How many people on a given evening in a local restaurant know CPR?" Gikas wondered.

That's exactly the question that led to PulsePoint.

Richard Price, now president of the PulsePoint Foundation, said it started about three years ago, when he was the fire chief in the San Ramon Valley, east of Oakland.

He was having lunch with colleagues when they heard a siren and saw one of their own engines pull up right in front of the deli where they were sitting.

It turned out someone had collapsed next door. Price knows CPR and had a defibrillator in his car, so he could have helped the person before the engine arrived.

But because he was the chief and not dispatched on calls, he didn't know.

That's the problem for civilians, too, Price said. Thousands of people are trained in CPR, but unless they happen to be literally in sight of an emergency, they rarely get to use the skill.

"Largely it's a matter of fate," Price said.

He wondered whether technology could help fate along.

Once he had the general idea, Price talked to people in the software industry and eventually got five students from Northern Kentucky University's "informatics" program to help develop an app.

Officials in the San Ramon Valley decided to turn the technology over to a new foundation that could help it expand to other fire departments across the country.

L.A. Fire Chief Brian Cummings has pushed the department to make better use of technology, Gikas said, and commanders heard about PulsePoint at a conference and online.

The city of L.A., like other users, won't pay any money. The iPhone and Android app is also free to the public. PulsePoint is staffed by volunteers and financed by a nonprofit foundation based in Pleasanton.

The app is already used by 12 fire departments, eight of them in California. They cover more than 100 communities, including San Jose, Davis and Alameda County.

It's tied into the departments' dispatch systems and programmed to send alerts out only when CPR is needed in public places - it won't send people to cardiac arrests in houses or apartments.

Price said PulsePoint has been activated almost 700 times and now averages four or five times a day. Recently, someone collapsed in a coffee shop in Danville and a PulsePoint alert went out.

Eight people rushed to the stricken person.

Price said it's impossible to say how many lives have been saved by PulsePoint. But there's no question that the more people use it, the more people it will help, he said.

That person who collapsed near him three years ago survived, he said, but 1,000 people a day die of cardiac arrest in the United States.

Once the L.A. Fire Department is listed in the iPhone version, you'll have to agree to let the app know your location and send you "push" alerts. Then, if there's an emergency within a set radius - probably a quarter mile, Gikas said - you'll get an alert on your phone.

Price said the rule of thumb for how valuable time is in a cardiac arrest is "10 percent a minute" - that is, if someone starts CPR within the first minute, the patient has a 90 percent chance of living.

"At 10 minutes you pretty much have no chance of survival," he said.



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, Technology, cardiac arrest, app

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Simulation-Based Assessment Facilitates Learning & Enhances Clinical Judgment

Simulation is an educational tool that can be used to develop and refine clinical skills of the student in a controlled environment before they progress to becoming practicing clinicians.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

City Official Challenges San Francisco Fire Chief

Ambulance response times among problems noted by city supervisor.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Texas Ambulance Crash

Victoria ambulance collides with civilian vehicle.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Medics Ditch Pants for Kilts

“Real men do wear kilts.”
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

NYC September 11 Commemoration

Tolling of the bell begins the anniversary ceremony.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

CO Leak at Illinois School

Girard incident sends over 130 to hospitals.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On September 2014

Who gets thumbs up this month?
More >


Multimedia Thumb

NYC Sept. 11 Anniversary

View images from the ceremony at Ground Zero.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >