September 26, 2017 | by

Off-Duty Firefighters Partner with National Pilot Program to Save Lives

Madison, WI – A new pilot program will allow off-duty City of Madison firefighters and paramedics to provide life-saving care when someone experiences a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in their home.

Madison only fourth city nationally to participate

The PulsePoint Verified Responder Pilot Program launches in Madison through a partnership of the PulsePoint Foundation, Madison Fire Department, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 311, and automated external defibrillator (AED) manufacturer Philips.

“With Verified Responder, we now have the new opportunity to send off-duty professional firefighters and paramedics from the Madison Fire Department into a home or private location in response to a cardiac arrest in the City of Madison,” explained City of Madison Fire Chief Steven Davis. “We are honored to be the fourth site in the country selected for the Verified Responder program, which will dramatically broaden our impact to save lives.”

In February 2015, the smart phone app PulsePoint was launched in Madison and Dane County to improve cardiac arrest survival rates by notifying CPR-trained citizen volunteers when someone is experiencing a cardiac arrest in a nearby public location. But nearly 74 percent of cardiac arrests in Madison occur at home, which is why the addition of Verified Responder is so important.

The Verified Responder Pilot Program utilizes the PulsePoint app and alerts trained responders of a SCA in private locations. In addition, Philips is providing an AED for use by every participating firefighter and paramedic so that if they respond, they can employ the same technology that is used by emergency medical responders and physicians when a heart has stopped beating. Participants from the Madison Fire Department are certified emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or paramedics who receive background checks as part of employment as sworn public safety personnel.

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More than 350,000 Americans each year suffer an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) where the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. Nearly 90 percent are fatal. If treated early with CPR, and in some cases defibrillation, the chances of survival can double or even triple. “Studies have shown time and time again that the two major determinates of survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are immediate bystander chest compressions and prompt defibrillation,” said City of Madison Fire Department Medical Director Michael Lohmeier. “This program significantly increases the opportunity and access to both of those life-saving interventions, and therefore has the opportunity to positively impact survival rates in the City of Madison. We are excited to see these results become a reality.”

The effort will gather important data from the City of Madison’s pilot program, and will combine it with existing technology and clinical insights to inform future lifesaving strategies and products. During the pilot, King County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Seattle will assist with programmatic evaluation for potential expansion to additional communities. The pilot program runs through December 2018.

“Our firefighters feel a great responsibility to the community that we serve, and we are excited to now be able to make our members available to those suffering from cardiac arrest, both on-duty and now off-duty as well, 24-hours a day,” said Mahlon Mitchell, President of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 311. “We look forward to utilizing the Verified Responder program and are hopeful that we can make a significant impact to those in need of help.”

Access to the PulsePoint app has been funded by the UnityPoint Health-Meriter Foundation since its launch in Madison and Dane County in 2015. There are 26,000 PulsePoint users locally. The app is now in more than 2,500 communities in 35 states with more than 1,000,000 users nationwide.

About the PulsePoint Foundation
PulsePoint is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through the use of location-aware mobile devices, PulsePoint is building applications that work with local public safety agencies to improve communications with citizens and off-duty personnel, empowering them to help reduce the millions of annual deaths from sudden cardiac arrest. Learn more at or join the conversation at Facebook and Twitter. The free app is available for download on iTunes and Google Play.


Media Contacts
Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer), (608) 261-5539,

Source: City of Madison Press Release

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News 3 (WISC-TV) Logo

February 5, 2015 | by

App could help Dane County citizens save lives

WISC-TV (CBS) News Story

Dane County residents are being asked to download a new smartphone app that could turn them into citizen first responders when someone is having a sudden cardiac arrest.

It’s called PulsePoint, and two Madison firefighters have worked to bring the technology that’s currently operating in cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Cleveland to the Dane County 911 Center. When an emergency call for a cardiac arrest comes in, if the event is in a public place, an alert will be sent to those who have downloaded the app who are within one-quarter mile of the incident, at the same time that it’s sent to paramedics.

The goal is to crowd-source Good Samaritans, and get CPR help to victims before paramedics can arrive. The app provides instructions on how to do CPR in addition to directions to the person who suffered the cardiac arrest.

“We know there’s people out there with the training. We know there are people out there willing to help, and we know that they’re presently unaware many times of incidents that are close to them,” Madison firefighter Christopher Carbon said. “When you show up on scene and you do have bystander compressions going on, you immediately know the chances of survival are better.”

Last year, there were 547 sudden cardiac arrests in Dane County. The Pulse Point Foundation reports an estimated 325,000 people die every year in America from sudden cardiac arrest or roughly one every two minutes. Doctors say permanent brain damage or death can occur within eight minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest.

“Cardiac arrest, you know you hear that and you know it’s go-time,” said Madison firefighter Paul Britain, who worked with Carbon to bring Pulse Point to Dane County. “It’s happening all over, all the time.”

Evidence of how the app can work came last fall in Spokane, Washington, when a 911 call came in for a non-breathing baby at a ballet studio. The Pulse Point alert went out and using GPS technology, an alert popped up two blocks away on the phone of a local mechanic who volunteered as an EMT. He left the car he was working on, raced to the scene, administered CPR and saved the baby’s life before paramedics could get there.

“I thought that’s what it means,” Britain said after hearing about the Spokane story. “That’s what this project means to me. That’s how it works and that’s how it should work.”

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Carbon, who also works with Meriter Hospital, brought the idea to the medical center’s foundation, which agreed to pay at least $20,500 to install, operate and promote the program for its first year. National estimates are that 55-60 percent of all Americans have had some form of CPR training. Carbon said people want to help and the app gives them the chance to do so.

“It’s sort of like somebody opening the door and yelling outside for help, but just having a larger radius and more reach to it,” he said. “I do think the willingness to help is there. The excitement here is that people can return to their normal lives. People can enjoy their families and enjoy their careers and enjoy the things they were doing before the (cardiac arrest) happened. So, I think that’s where some of this excitement comes about. That when it works, it can work really well.”

Carbon and Britain believe Wisconsin’s Good Samaritan law protects those who would offer help to those in need. Further, they say the app tracks phones or places that phones are rather than people, thereby protecting the privacy of those who have the phones.

“There is an option to respond, it’s not an obligation,” Carbon said. “At the end of the day, I think we would always say, doing something is better than doing nothing.”

The app is available on both Apple and the Android phones.

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West Tennessee Healthcare

February 26, 2014 | by

New App in West Tennessee Will Save Lives

WEST JACKSON– Seconds can separate life and death. First responders say they’re excited about the launch of a news app that will help them save lives.

Watch the ABC 7 Story.

Once downloaded, it notifies you if you’re within a mile of a CPR event in Madison, Benton, and Chester counties.

The app is called ‘PulsePoint’. It’s a free download in the Apple App Store and Google Play. Shannon Seaton with Emergency Management Services says it’s already had 400 downloads since its launch a few weeks ago.

The department is spreading the word and trying to get anyone connected who is certified in CPR.

If someone has a heart attack in your neighborhood, once the 9-1-1 operator has been dialed, it will go into the system and the alert will come through on your phone.

Medical experts say the first four to six minutes after a heart attack are crucial.

“It’s shown that after just a few minutes of oxygen to the brain, brain death can occur, so in that time it takes for EMS to get there, if CPR isn’t started, the chance of survival gets less and less,” Emily Garner with West Tennessee Heart and Vascular Center said.

She hopes that anyone that is CPR certified will download the app, and be a part of a community that saves lives.

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