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June 3, 2014 | by

East Bay Firefighters’ Life-Saving Smartphone App Works As Designed When Man Needed CPR


SAN RAMON (CBS SF) — A smartphone app pioneered by an East Bay fire department is being credited with saving a life by alerting an off-duty firefighter of someone nearby who needed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

The PulsePoint application triggers an alert to CPR-trained citizens when a local 9-1-1 call is made, allowing anyone with the app to respond if they are nearby the person needing assistance.

Last month, off-duty firefighter Scott Brawner was working out at a Clackamas, Oregon health club when he was alerted through the PulsePoint app, finding a man unconscious and not breathing outside the health club within a minute, according to the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District which developed the app.

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The firefighter immediately began CPR on the 57-year-old man and continued until paramedics arrived, the district said.

Firefighter/Paramedic Lucas Hirst, who also has experience as an IT technician, led an effort by developers to create the app and launch it in February of last year for the district.

“I am so proud and happy that something we created was able to save someone’s life,” said Hirst. “It’s a pretty profound thing when you receive that email and you read the statement [that] it worked as designed.”

Hirst compared the app to the digital equivalent of someone yelling out “Is there a doctor in the house?” — but with much better results.

“Now you have somebody who is able to spend another Christmas, another holiday with their family because of an app we created here,” said Hirst. “It’s amazing. It’s a feeling I can’t even explain.”

The fire district said the off-duty firefighter was able to meet the man he rescued along with the man’s family a week after the incident. Doctors said the man was expected to recover fully because CPR was administered so quickly.

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