Steve Lopez, LA Times

August 10, 2014 | by

App could boost chances of cardiac arrest victims

Later this month I’ll be marking the two-year anniversary of my death.

That’s not a line you see too often, is it?

My heart gave out after knee surgery, because of an arrhythmia. Even for those who suffer cardiac arrest in a hospital, the survival rate is low. But I was lucky. A nurse quickly used CPR and brought me back from the dead in less than a minute.

CPR-needed Alert MapLast week while driving to work I heard my cardiologist, Dr. Leslie Saxon, on KNX-AM (1070) talking about a new app that could save the lives of those stricken by cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County Fire Department is encouraging civilians to download the app and join a growing army of crowd-sourced good Samaritans — 13,000 so far — who can keep someone alive until emergency crews arrive.

Before I tell you how the app works and how simple it is to use, let me tell you why it’s so important.

Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death, killing more than 1,000 people a day in the United States. The victims, who include children, often have no symptoms and consider themselves perfectly healthy. As opposed to a heart attack (a plumbing problem in which blood flow to the heart is blocked), cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heart function caused by an electrical malfunction in which the heart’s pumping action is disrupted.

Without CPR — and I mean chest compressions, not mouth-to-mouth resuscitation — death can occur within minutes. That means a five-minute response to a 911 call might be too late.

“It’s going to take a community to impact the dismal survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients,” Saxon said.

The idea for the app was hatched several years ago by a Bay Area fire chief who thought there must be a way to put the 13 million people with CPR training to better use. So, what if the moment someone dialed 911 in a case of cardiac arrest, nearby civilians could be notified on their mobile phones and do CPR until paramedics arrive?

Richard Price, now retired from the San Ramon Valley Fire Department, helped establish a nonprofit that has now linked its PulsePoint app to emergency systems in about 200 California fire departments and several hundred more around the country. He said the Los Angeles Fire Department may be signing on soon.

“There have been some pretty significant stories of lives saved, directly attributable to the app,” Price said.

Most interventions, so far, have been by off-duty emergency responders who downloaded the app. But as Price points out, any civilian can learn CPR in a matter of minutes. The PulsePoint app itself has a “how-to” feature with a diagram on how to place the heels of the hands in the center of the chest and push down firmly and rapidly, about 100 times per minute.

If you have the app and you’re in the L.A. County Fire Department coverage area, you’ll get a beep on your iPhone or Android device if you’re within one-quarter mile of where the fallen person is. Although it might be best in some cases to simply do CPR until trained responders arrive, a related app will give you a map showing where the nearest portable Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, is located.

Even if you’re not comfortable using one, you might be able to alert someone who is. Not all cases of cardiac arrest call for an AED, but the machines are designed for quick diagnosis, with clear and simple instructions on safe use by lay persons.

Price said it will take some time for the location of all AEDs to be loaded into the app. And it’s going to take some time, as well, for AEDs to become more prevalent. Concerns about cost ($1,200 or more per unit) and legal liability have impeded wider use.

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Bob Roy, a Riverside man whose 14-year-old son, Travis, went into cardiac arrest at his middle school in 2005 and later died, has been lobbying to require schools to have AEDs.

“You’re a hundred times more likely to need an AED than a fire extinguisher, and which of those two are required by law?” asked Roy, who has helped place dozens of the devices in schools through the nonprofit thetravisfund.org.

Former state Sen. Joe Simitian, now a Santa Clara County supervisor, said resistance to AEDs is based in part on fears of legal liability if the devices malfunction. But the technology has improved dramatically since regulations were written, he said, and it may be time to legislatively broaden legal protection for those willing to try to save someone’s life.

More people die each year from cardiac arrest than from lung, breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. And Dr. Frank Pratt, medical director for the L.A. County Fire Department, says it’s time for cardiac arrest to be addressed with the same urgency.

“If this number of people were dying from an infection or a defect in an automobile or a stove, there’d be a national uproar,” Pratt said. “The PulsePoint app gives us an opportunity to reinvigorate the dialogue on the whole public health problem of sudden cardiac arrest.”

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August 6, 2014 | by

LA County Fire Dept. cardiac arrest app to ‘crowd-source good Samaritans’

Hoping to turn regular cellphone-toting Angelenos into rapid responders, the Los Angeles County Fire Department has linked its dispatch system to a cellphone app that will notify CPR-trained good Samaritans when someone in a public place nearby is having a cardiac arrest.

The app, called PulsePoint, sends Fire Department alerts out to mobile phone users at the same time that dispatchers send the official message out to emergency crews — increasing the possibility that a cardiac arrest victim can get life-saving CPR from a bystander while medical responders are still on the way, department officials said Wednesday.

The program also provides cardiopulmonary resuscitation instructions and the location of defibrillators nearby.

“Every person who knows CPR, downloads this app and activates it has their own fire department radio in their pocket,” said Fire Department medical director Dr. Franklin Pratt. “They become the first first responder.”

Enlisting nearby citizens who are prepared to deliver “hands-only CPR” — hard and fast compressions in the center of the chest — could greatly improve survival rates among cardiac arrest sufferers, Los Angeles County fire officials said.

Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby, who was on hand for a press event in Inglewood debuting the system, told The Times that the average emergency crew response time for his department was 5 minutes countywide, and sometimes longer in lower-density, far-flung communities such as Lancaster and Palmdale.

“If a citizen can begin CPR before the paramedics arrive, it increases survival,” he said.

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Medical director Pratt said that when the heart stops beating, the opportunity for survival with a good quality of life diminishes after about 3 or 4 minutes because of injury to the brain and changes in the body that make the heart less responsive. But in the first couple of minutes after cardiac arrest there’s still oxygen in the blood, he added. Immediate CPR can keep that oxygen flowing to the brain.

View the full story by Eryn Brown at the Los Angeles Times.

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Drew Basse and Scott Brawner

May 27, 2014 | by

PulsePoint App Saves Life of Cardiac Arrest Victim

Life-saving CPR performed after mobile app notifies nearby off-duty firefighter

CFD #1 LogoCLACKAMAS, Ore., May 28, 2014 – On Friday, May 9, 2014 off-duty firefighter Scott Brawner was working out at a local health club when he received an alert through PulsePoint, a 9-1-1 connected mobile app designed to alert CPR-trained citizens of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) emergencies in their proximity. This alert saved a man’s life.

Using the map presented by the PulsePoint app, Scott immediately made his way to the reported patient location. In less than a minute, Scott found the man unconscious in the parking lot outside of the health facility where a security guard had first found him unresponsive and called 9-1-1. Scott immediately assessed and began hands-only CPR. He continued providing chest compressions until paramedics from American Medical Response (AMR) and Clackamas Fire District #1 arrived to provide advanced care.

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“As a fire fighter I know that every minute that passes without a SCA victim receiving resuscitation, the chances of that person surviving decrease 10 percent.” said Scott Brawner, Firefighter/Paramedic with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVF&R). “By adopting PulsePoint, agencies are removing much of the fate and luck in survival by involving CPR-trained citizen rescuers in cardiac arrest response.”

On Saturday, May 17, 2014, at Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, Scott had the opportunity to meet the man he had saved just a week prior. His name is Drew Basse, a 57-year-old truck driver from Milwaukie, Oregon. Scott also met Drew’s son Shane, 31, and daughter Staci, 27. It was an emotional meeting filled with gratitude and appreciation as Drew is expected to fully recover with no loss of cognitive function because CPR was administered so quickly. The family was especially interested in learning more about the “miracle app” they had heard played such a key role in Drew’s survival.

“This app saved my Dad’s life,” said Shane Basse, “We’re so grateful to the PulsePoint Foundation for creating this life-saving app, Scott Brawner for his heroic actions and Clackamas Fire for not only their quick response, but for adopting this technology.”

“The PulsePoint app did its job by alerting a Good Samaritan simultaneously with the dispatch of our crews, ” said Bill Conway, EMS Officer for Clackamas Fire District #1. “This incredibly positive outcome is why Clackamas Fire, like so many organizations throughout the U.S., invested in this type of technology.”

The app on Scott’s phone is from the non-profit PulsePoint Foundation. The app is designed to reduce collapse-to-CPR and collapse-to-defibrillation times by increasing citizen awareness of cardiac events beyond a traditional “witnessed” area and by displaying the precise location of nearby public access defibrillators (AEDs).

About the PulsePoint Foundation
PulsePoint is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its mission is to make it much easier for citizens who are trained in CPR to use their life-saving skills to do just that…save lives! Through the use of modern, location-aware mobile devices PulsePoint is building applications that work with local public safety agencies to improve communications with citizens and empower them to help reduce the millions of annual deaths from sudden cardiac arrest.

Deployment of the PulsePoint app can significantly strengthen the “chain of survival” by improving bystander response to SCA victims in public settings and increasing the chance that lifesaving steps will be taken prior to the arrival of emergency medical services (EMS) professionals. Just two years after launching outside the San Ramon Valley (CA) the PulsePoint app has been adopted in 600 cities and communities in 18 states.

PulsePoint is built and maintained by volunteer engineers at Workday, a Silicon Valley-based company that creates enterprise cloud applications, and distributed by Physio-Control. The original idea came from Richard Price, the former chief of the San Ramon Valley Fire Department who wanted to bridge the gap between the critical minutes following SCA and the 13 million Americans who are CPR trained, but often don’t know their skills are required.

The PulsePoint app is available for iPhone and Android and can be downloaded from the iTunes Store™ and Google Play™. Learn more at www.pulsepoint.org.

About Clackamas Fire District #1
Clackamas Fire District #1 provides fire, rescue, and emergency medical services to the cities of Milwaukie, Oregon City, Happy Valley, Johnson City and a portion of Damascus as well as the unincorporated areas of Oak Lodge, Clackamas, Westwood, Carver, Redland, Beavercreek, Carus, Clarkes, and South End/Central Point.

The District has 17 fire stations strategically located throughout Clackamas County with a workforce of more than 200 employees and 100 volunteers. It is the second largest fire protection district in Oregon serving over 179,000 citizens in an area covering nearly 200 square miles.

Clackamas Fire District #1 is a CFAI Accredited agency meeting the highest standards in emergency service delivery.

About TVF&R
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue provides fire protection and emergency medical services to approximately 454,000 citizens in one of the fastest growing regions in Oregon. The District’s 210 square mile service area includes the cities of Beaverton, Durham, King City, Rivergrove, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin, West Linn, and Wilsonville, and unincorporated portions of Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington County. TVF&R is a CFAI Accredited agency.

About Cardiac Arrest
Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for an estimated 424,000 deaths each year, more than 1,000 deaths per day. The American Heart Association estimates that effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. However, less than half of cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR and even fewer receive a potentially lifesaving therapeutic shock from a public access AED. Improving bystander CPR rates and access to AEDs is critical to survival.

Different than a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest is caused when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions and the heart stops working properly. For every minute that passes without a SCA victim receiving resuscitation, the chances of that person surviving decrease 10 percent. After 10 minutes the chances of survival are minimal.

Contacts
Interview Requests & National Media
Shannon Smith
ssmith@smithmediarelations.com
C: (773) 339-7513
O: (616) 724-4256

General Inquires & Portland-Area Media
Brandon Paxton
brandon.paxton@clackamasfire.com
C: (503) 519-4123
P: (503) 294-3555

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February 14, 2014 | by

Announcing the Rollout of PulsePoint in Spokane County

Media Contact: Captain Scott Crawford – (509) 954-4750, PIO Bill Clifford – (509) 928-1700

What: The Spokane County Combined Communications Center and Spokane County Fire Departments are proud to announce the arrival of the PulsePoint smartphone App in Spokane County.

When: Friday, February 14, 2014 from 10:00 AM to Noon

Where: Spokane Fire Department Field House, 1618 N. Rebecca Spokane, WA 99212

Now your smartphone can help you save a life. A free smartphone App called PulsePoint will soon be available in Spokane County. PulsePoint enables subscribers who are CPR trained to be alerted to a sudden cardiac arrest at the same time emergency responders are notified. Registered users will be notified when a sudden cardiac arrest has occurred in a public place within their vicinity. PulsePoint will give the citizen responder mapping directions, notify them of any automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in the area, and provide radio traffic of the emergency responders. Early CPR is the key if a sudden cardiac arrest victim is to survive. When a person goes into sudden cardiac arrest, their heart, brain, and other vital organs no longer receive oxygen. Researchers have found that without early CPR within the first 3 to 5 minutes, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival are dramatically reduced. The free PulsePoint app can be found in the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

You only need to be willing to do “Hands-Only” CPR. According to the American Heart Association, Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR in the first minutes of sudden cardiac arrest. Subscribers can also view active fire and emergency medical incidents and monitor emergency radio traffic.

Activities:

Welcome and introductions: Bobby Williams – Spokane Fire Chief

PulsePoint Origins and History: Bryan Collins – Spokane Valley Fire Chief

PulsePoint – Enhancing the chain of survival: Michael Metcalf, M.D. – EMS Council

Spokane County Combined Communications Center role in PulsePoint activations: Brian Schaeffer – Spokane Fire Assistant Chief

A personal story of survival: Survivor Speaker – Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation

On screen walkthrough of finding, downloading, installing, and configuring the app: Brian Schaeffer – Spokane Fire Assistant Chief

  • Find the app on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
  • Install the app.
  • Choose agency and alert options.
  • Learn about other features.

PulsePoint demonstration: With sudden cardiac arrest victim, PulsePoint activation, Good Samaritan response, AED acquisition, arrival of SVFD Paramedics and AMR, demonstration of Pit Crew CPR.

Closing Remarks: Bobby Williams – Spokane Fire Chief

Additionally there will be:

Knowledge experts on site to show event participants PulsePoint and help them install and configure the app on their phones and other devices.
Handouts discussing Early Activation, Early CPR, Early Defibrillation with the AED, Rapid Transport, Emergency Room and Hospital Care.
Heart healthy snacks and drinks for attendees.

Websites:
http://pulsepoint.org/
http://www.spokanevalleyfire.com/
https://www.facebook.com/spokanefire

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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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