Imagine you’re out shopping with family when your loved one is suddenly unconscious and needing life-saving measures. You call 9-1-1 and wait while time feels like it’s standing still. Then, a person comes running up and starts performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until the emergency medical services (EMS) personnel show up.
Where did this person come from, and how did he know you needed help? Well, there’s an app for that.
PulsePoint, a free citizen emergency response app, will soon make this scenario possible in Hamilton County. Westfield Fire Department is partnering with Riverview Health to bring this technology to the county this year.
“When it comes to cardiac-related emergencies, time is crucial,” said Rob Gaylor, Westfield Fire Department Deputy Chief. “PulsePoint will help bridge the gap between when a 9-1-1 call is placed and when first responders arrive on scene. The more users we get on the app, the stronger our citizen responder force becomes.”
Here’s how it works
When you call 9-1-1, the call is routed through Hamilton County dispatchers who will activate PulsePoint if needed. The Hamilton County dispatch office is used for all EMS agencies in the county. Anyone who is trained in CPR can register as a certified citizen responder and help by starting CPR, locating an automated external defibrillator (AED) or flagging down paramedics. Then, when there is an emergency situation requiring CPR in a public location, local emergency dispatchers will activate the app to notify nearby app users about the emergency. The certified citizen responder can then provide CPR until professional help arrives.
Only for use in public places
For privacy reasons, app users will only be notified of emergency situations in public places—like a mall, soccer field, park or store. While app users should be trained in CPR, Good Samaritan Law legally protects people who provide reasonable assistance to those who are, or who they believe to be, injured, ill, in peril or otherwise incapacitated.
“By making this app available at the dispatcher level, patients throughout the entire county will benefit from its capabilities,” said John Howard, MD, Riverview Health EMS Medical Director. “The most important thing during a cardiovascular emergency is to keep the heart pumping, and citizen-administered CPR is a huge part of that.”
PulsePoint can help combat the conflict some may feel when they see an emergency and ask, “Should I help, or are they OK?”
“This app has the potential to change—and save—lives, and we’re thrilled to have it here,” Chief Gaylor said.