January 23, 2014 | by

Cardiac app coming to Bend

Smartphone app alerts of heart emergencies

Bend, ORYou’ve gone into cardiac arrest.

With every minute that passes without resuscitation, you’re 10 percent less likely to survive. After 5 minutes, your odds are cut in half.

Paramedics with the Bend Fire Department take an average of 8 minutes to show up, so your life may hinge on the off-chance a nearby Good Samaritan knows CPR.

If you live in Bend, that chance may increase as soon as this summer. The Bend Fire Department is implementing a smartphone app called PulsePoint, which syncs with the local emergency dispatch to automatically alert volunteers within close range to start CPR on a cardiac arrest patient before the ambulance arrives.

Steve O’Malley, Bend Fire’s deputy chief of emergency medical services, said the department in recent years has stepped up its handling of cardiac arrests — recording data and reviewing each case, examining its protocols against American Heart Association guidelines — and part of that means allowing the public to get involved.

“What this does is it gives legs to people that are public-safety minded, that are altruistic, that would like to help their fellow man,” he said. “It just kind of gives a really tangible way to make that happen.”

Once PulsePoint’s software is synced with emergency dispatch, those who download the free app receive an alert on their phones any time there is a report of a cardiac arrest within a half-mile from them. (Cities can set their own distances. Urban areas usually go with a quarter-mile.) The alert is automatic, so 911 dispatchers don’t need to press any more buttons than usual. The cardiac arrest also must happen in a public place in order for the alert to go off.

Read the full article by Tara Bannow at The Bulletin.

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