Folks who are CPR certified can put their skills to help those in need thanks to an app that the city of Boca Fire Rescue Services purchased and launched last month.
The app PulsePoint will notify CPR-certified people who have the app when CPR may be needed in a nearby location.
“In a cardiac emergency, every second counts,” Division Chief Jason Stout said. “This app provides an extra life line in the time between the call and our arrival on scene.”
Stout said in a cardiac event brain and heart tissue begin to die after six or seven minutes so every minute counts.
And while the department has an average response time of three to six minutes, if someone close by can react before the paramedics arrive, that person has a greater chance of survival.
“People who have the greatest chance of surviving a cardiac arrest are people who have CPR,” he said.
The smart-phone app links to the 911 dispatch system to notify CPR-trained citizens at the same time first responders are contacted when someone is experiencing cardiac arrest in a nearby, public location.
PulsePoint provides the exact location of the individual in distress as well as the nearest automatic external defibrillator (AED).
The app only works with public locations so private addresses needing assistance will not trigger an alert.
Those with the app will be notified if they are in one quarter mile of where help is needed. The app uses location services to track where you are located. The notification will disappear once paramedics arrive.
The app was developed by a retired fire chief several years ago. He was out and saw fire trucks respond to a situation at a store next to where he was. He was watching and said he could have responded if only he knew help was needed.
Boca purchased the app with an $18,000 grant it received from Palm Beach County last year. The grant will fund the cost of integrating the app with the city’s dispatch system and the cost of maintaining it.
Stout said the app is part of a campaign the department is promoting, Learn CPR, get the app, save a life.
Now, the goal is to get people to download the app.
“The more people who have it the better it will be,” he said.
Those concerned over the liability do not need to worry, Stout said.
He said there is no duty to act if you don’t hear the alert go off or if your phone is in your purse and you don’t get to it in time. And if you do respond to the alert, you are covered under the Good Samaritan Act.
“We want people to feel comfortable and do something,” he said.
If you do respond to an alert, the app will advise you to position the victim with their backs flat on the floor. Once the victim is in position, the responder should start to begin hands-only CPR with straight arms and forceful downward compressions in the middle of the victim’s chest.
A CPR how-to button provides chest compression-only instructions as well as a metronome to assist in maintaining a proper 100 compressions per minute tempo.
“CPR has been so streamlined,” Stout said. “If you get there and don’t remember how many breaths to give, just push hard on the chest and don’t stop until we get there.”
The app can also inform residents of emergency activities in real time as well as send notifications for significant events such as wild fires, flooding and utility emergencies.
The app works in other cities that have integrated it into their systems. So, you could be on vacation across the country and get an alert that CPR is needed.
If you are interested in becoming CPR certified, Fire Rescue Services offers American Heart Association CPR Heartsaver/AED classes to the community and health care providers twice a month on Tuesdays at 5 p.m. at the Fire Rescue Headquarters located at 6500 Congress Ave. The course is $30 for three hours. For more information on the PulsePoint or other facilities that offer CPR-classes and certifications, please visit Boca Raton Fire Rescue Services.