March 16, 2015 | by

San Diego County, City, Fire Chiefs Launch AED App, Crowdsourcing Campaign

Someone collapses nearby you at the gym, the store or even at work. They are showing the classic signs of sudden cardiac arrest: no heartbeat, no breathing. What do you do? How can you help?

Finding and deploying an automated external defibrillator (AED) can help save a life in those critical minutes before a paramedic arrives. In fact, you’re twice as likely to survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest if you receive both cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED assistance, compared to CPR alone.

Knowing where AEDs are located during an emergency is at the heart of a new crowdsourcing campaign launched by the County of San Diego, City of San Diego and San Diego County Fire Chiefs’ Association at a news conference Monday at the County’s Waterfront Park. The goal is to create a robust electronic map identifying the location of AEDs in the region, using a new app called PulsePoint AED. The PulsePoint AED app is the companion app to the PulsePoint Respond app, recently launched in San Diego County, which notifies nearby responders of a cardiac emergency through a “CPR needed” alert, providing a map of the emergency’s location and identifying nearby approved AEDs.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Horn, Supervisor Ron Roberts, San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Javier Mainar and San Diego County Fire Chiefs’ Association President Don Butz and other local fire and government officials on Monday asked for the public’s help in using the app to locate additional AEDs in the County as part of the crowdsourcing campaign. Members of the public who register the most AEDs will earn prizes as part of a contest organized by the PulsePoint Foundation. Prizes will include an iPad donated by American Medical Response, an autographed football from the San Diego Chargers, Amazon gift cards donated by PulsePoint, a family four pack of tickets to the USS Midway Museum, two pairs of One-Day Explorer passes to Balboa Park donated by the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership and an autographed Padres hat donated by the team.

“Introducing this app today is yet another way to make heart health a priority and to boost survival rates for cardiac arrest victims,” said Bill Horn, Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors. “Now citizens can play a key role. We need your help.”

Horn also announced that the County plans to purchase about 30 new AED devices to place in Sheriff’’s supervisor vehicles.

The new app was developed by the Pleasanton, California-based nonprofit PulsePoint Foundation and distributed by Redmond, Washington-based emergency medical device company Physio-Control, Inc. San Diego has used the PulsePoint AED app to build one of the most extensive and model AED registries in the country.

“This new technology is going to help us create the most comprehensive database of AEDs we’ve ever had in the region,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts. “As citizens, we can help one another in previously unheard-of ways.”

Roberts said the app is just the latest heart health advancement in the region, along with Love Your Heart, Strike Out Stroke and Sidewalk CPR day.

The PulsePoint AED app allows anyone in the community to submit an AED, including the exact location, description and photo of the AED. All submitted AEDs are verified by San Diego EMS professionals before they appear in PulsePoint Respond. When PulsePoint Respond issues a “CPR needed” alert, providing the location of the emergency, it also provides the location of the nearest AEDs.

“We’ve already had great success registering more than a thousand AEDs across the City of San Diego through the PulsePoint AED app,” said San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Javier Mainar. “We’re asking for citizens to help build out a similar system throughout the region.”

Chief Don Butz, the President of the San Diego County Fire Chiefs’ Association, said fire agencies around the county are behind the effort.

“Every minute does make a difference when it comes to sudden cardiac arrest,” said Butz. “Each minute a victim waits for CPR, their chance of survival drops by up to 10 percent. In those moments before our first responders arrive, citizens can make a difference. Knowing where AEDs are is a big piece of the puzzle.”

Officials also demonstrated how to use an AED, and American Medical Response provided free CPR training and AED instruction and taught citizens how to use the new PulsePoint AED app from noon-3 p.m. on the south side of the County Administration Center building near the snack bar.

You can download the apps through Google Play or the Apple App Store, start registering AEDs with PulsePoint AED and be eligible to win a prize. You’re also encouraged to get trained in CPR and how to use AEDs and sign up to receive the alerts when your help may be needed. The American Red Cross, American Heart Association, and San Diego Project Heartbeat provide trainings throughout the year. You may just help save someone’s life.

For more information, visit the County’s PulsePoint information page or to download the apps, visit PulsePoint.