From Half Moon Bay Review
San Mateo County has launched PulsePoint — a free mobile app that alerts registered, CPR-trained users of a heart attack victim in a public place in their immediate vicinity. Users can then start CPR in the critical minutes before emergency teams arrive.
Sudden heart attacks can happen at any time. Every minute’s delay in CPR drops survival chances by up to 10 percent. According to the American Heart Association, 920,000 people have heart attacks every year, and about 25 percent of them have no symptoms before the attack.
PulsePoint is used in more than 1,700 cities and counties across the country, and was founded by Richard Price, who spent 18 years as fire chief for the city of San Mateo.
The project is being funded by San Mateo County Emergency Medical Services Agency, American Medical Response, San Mateo County Pre-Hospital Emergency Group, San Mateo County Public Safety Communications, Peninsula Healthcare District and Sequoia Healthcare District.
The PulsePoint launch, announced on Tuesday, was timed to coincide with the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors proclaiming February as American Heart Month. Board meeting attendees included local emergency and fire officials and local Girl Scout Serafina Casey, who helped bring PulsePoint to San Mateo County and will accept the proclamation.
Casey, a sophomore at Menlo-Atherton High School, attended CPR training last year on a quest for a Girl Scout badge. She became so interested in the county’s emergency medical system that she worked tirelessly to bring PulsePoint to San Mateo County, even setting up a booth at the San Mateo County Fair to help spread the word.
“During a heart attack, every second counts,” said Nancy Lapolla, director of San Mateo County Emergency Medical Services Agency, in a written statement. “PulsePoint empowers CPR-trained residents to save lives and will hopefully encourage more people in every community to get trained in hands-only CPR, which takes minutes to learn.”
CPR-trained residents who download the PulsePoint app can choose to be notified of nearby cardiac emergencies so they can start CPR right away. The PulsePoint app also includes information on the closest automated external defibrillator, an easy-to-use machine that shocks a victim’s heart if needed.
PulsePoint is connected to local emergency response systems, so by the time the app notifies nearby bystanders, an ambulance is already on the way. For more information, visit pulsepoint.org.
The PulsePoint AED App (right) provides you with the location of AEDs in your area. You can also report the location of an AED that is not in the database.
While CPR is not a standard part of the CERT disaster response curriculum, most CERTs have acquired CPR skills through other organizations.