When many of us think of heroes, Superman, Batman, firefighters and law enforcement officers come to mind but a smartphone app is showing people that they too can save lives here in Santa Clarita.
PulsePoint is a smartphone application that works with local fire departments to notify citizens of emergencies in their area including medical emergencies, traffic collisions and fires.
“It’s a new program (with the Los Angeles County Fire Department) but it definitely will help,” said Stephanie English, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “The Fire Department is working to train as many residents as possible to use CPR and using just chest compressions, not mouth to mouth contact.”
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly known as CPR, is used to manually pump someone’s heart who has gone into cardiac arrest. It was previously taught to use chest compressions in combination with rescue breathing, but LACFD officials recommend to just stick with chest compressions until an emergency responder arrives, English said.
“We are seeing good results,” said Richard Price, president and inventor of the PulsePoint app. “Several lives have been saved that have all been attributed to PulsePoint. We see CPR trained citizens and off duty professionals arriving before emergency personnel.”
It can take paramedics several minutes to reach the location where someone is having a medical emergency, such as going into cardiac arrest, English said. By training the general public to know how to use CPR, more people can be saved.
“Cardiac arrest survival rates throughout Los Angeles are very low, “ English said. “Using CPR allows just enough oxygenated blood to vital organs to give the person a chance for survival.”
The app has been downloaded more than 25,000 times, Price said. Users can customize notifications from the app and get exact addresses to the public location where emergency is occurring.
The licensing fee for the app costs a certain amount of money depending on the population size of the area it serves, according to the PulsePoint website, which costs communities $25,000 a year who have more than 1.5 million people. Los Angeles County serves about 4 million people.
“This is a perfect example of the ‘connected life’ that provides enormous benefits for all thanks to this very simple concept, which is to alert CPR-trained individuals to a nearby cardiac arrest situation so they may assist until the professional responders arrive on the scene,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, President of The Wireless Foundation and President and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association in a news release. “If you’re CPR-trained, please download the PulsePoint app now to help save a life.”
If trained in CPR, the person who performs the CPR is protected by the Good Samaritan Law which states,”…a person, who, in good faith, lends emergency care or assistance without compensation at the place of an emergency or accident, and who was acting as a reasonable and prudent person would have acted under the circumstances present at the scene at the time the services were rendered, shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions performed in good faith.”
The PulsePoint app was developed by The Wireless Foundation and The PulsePoint Foundation.
“We know in other states that have trained their communities (in CPR), it makes a huge difference,” English said. “That’s our goal to train as many residents as possible. The Fire Department has an investment to increase the survival rate of cardiac arrests right here in Santa Clarita.”
Anyone who is interested in learning CPR can go to any LACFD station for free.