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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February 1, 2013 | by

Will you answer the CPR call?

TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Mike Duyck Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue wants to know if you are willing to help save a life.

Specifically, if you are willing to serve as a potential citizen rescuer on standby — ready to jump into action and perform CPR in the event someone nearby goes into sudden cardiac arrest in a public place.

The fire district on Tuesday released a new PulsePoint smartphone application that alerts CPR-trained bystanders when someone within a quarter-mile radius is in need of their aid at the precise moment emergency dispatchers activate TVF&R’s emergency crews.

The app can be downloaded free from the Apple App Store or Android Apps on Google Play.

As the first fire department in Oregon to introduce this lifesaving tool to its 220-square-mile service area, the app uses sophisticated location-based software when someone calls 911 to direct bystanders to the location of the person in need of CPR as well as the nearest accessible automated external defibrillator.

Once the citizen rescuer arrives, an emergency dispatcher on the phone with the witness who called 911 will provide instruction on how to administer hands-only CPR by pushing hard and fast on the center of the patient’s chest. Meanwhile, the rescuer can inform someone else about where to find the nearest AED.

“We can’t stress enough how critical it is for people to start CPR before we arrive,” said Mark Charleston, TVF&R’s emergency medical services battalion chief. “Every minute a person in sudden cardiac arrest goes without CPR or a shock to the heart from an AED, the chance of survival goes down by 10 percent.

“Our crews are running about three to four minutes to arrive on scene once they are dispatched. If someone starts performing CPR, it ensures we have a viable patient and the patient’s chances of being resuscitated improve. Having people willing to assist us will undoubtedly save lives.”

Read the full article by Christina Lent, at the Portland Tribune.

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January 29, 2013 | by

Free smartphone app, new to Oregon, designed to save lives through crowdsourcing CPR

AppStoreScreenShot300pxRichard Price heard a distant siren and wondered where the emergency crew was headed. The siren’s whine intensified until the crew pulled up outside the deli where Price was having lunch.

Next door, someone was in cardiac arrest: The person’s heart had stopped beating unexpectedly.

Price, who was chief of northern California’s San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District until retiring last year, is trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He carried an automated external defibrillator in his car trunk. If he’d known, he could have worked to re-start the victim’s heart during the crucial minutes it took the rescue crew to arrive — minutes that frequently mean the difference between life and death for those in cardiac arrest.

The incident about three years ago inspired what Price considers the best idea he ever had: PulsePoint, a free smartphone application that fires off alerts when CPR may be needed in a public space nearby. It directs bystanders willing to perform CPR to the precise location and tells them where to find publicly accessible automated defibrillators.

Tuesday, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue became the first Oregon fire department to introduce and implement the app. Its developers hope its use spreads to departments across the state — even around the world.

For now in Oregon, those who live or work in, or who travel through TVF&R’s, 220-square-mile service area, and who download the PulsePoint app, could have lifesaving opportunities in their future.

“We see this as another way in which we can partner with the community to save even more lives,” says Mark Charleston, TVF&R battalion chief.

The fire department serves about 450,000 residents from U.S. 30 at its northern edge, to Charbonneau in the south, Sherwood to the west and West Linn to the east. It has a longstanding goal of increasing survival rates for cardiac patients.

Read the full article by Katy Muldoon, at The Oregonian.

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