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Be a hero: PulsePoint mobile app helps ordinary people save their neighbors' lives

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 2:09pm
AllVoices

The PulsePoint mobile app (available for iPhone and Android) gives all of us the opportunity to turn an ordinary moment into an extraordinary act of heroism. Every day, 1,000 Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest. The survival rate of someone who goes into sudden cardiac arrest is only 8 percent and it often happens to people who have no previous signs of illness.

Many of these deaths can be prevented with CPR, a life-saving technique that 30 percent of Americans know. Given that the response times of most emergency services in most municipalities is slower than what’s needed to save people who go into sudden cardiac arrest, cities and towns need a better solution to get help to people faster.

The creators of the mobile app PulsePoint saw this as a simple matter of aligning the locations of supply and demand using GPS. There are people who need CPR and people nearby who have CPR training and are willing to help. PulsePoint brings these two parties together. Those who have CPR training download the PulsePoint app to be notified when someone near their current location goes into sudden cardiac arrest. This notification is sent out via the PulsePoint app by municipality emergency services that receive 911 calls regarding sudden cardiac arrest at the same moment that emergency services are dispatched to the scene.

Essentially, PulsePoint users with CPR training fill in the gap of time between a person going into sudden cardiac arrest and the arrival of emergency medical services personnel. The theory is that if the app facilitates the arrival of emergency help to people sooner, more lives will be saved. The American Heart Association states that emergency CPR administered by a bystander shortly after the onset of sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple the dismal 8 percent survival rate that occurs without bystander assistance.

Additionally, the PulsePoint app also shows users the closest automated external defibrillator (AED). This is important because CPR is only a stopgap measure. In order for the heart to return to its normal rhythm, the electrical pulse of an AED or similar device must be administered. No training is required to use the AED effectively. Modern AEDs are very simple to use and have clear guided instructions right on the machine. Though AEDs are commonly available in public places such as schools, shopping malls and airports, most people have no idea where they are. PulsePoint solves this location problem.

PulsePoint is one of the first collaborations driven by technology that makes citizens true partners with government services in their cities. In addition to providing this life-saving service, the app also has the potential to increase the number of Americans who take CPR training classes and keep their training current. Sudden cardiac arrest can affect anyone anytime anywhere. PulsePoint and proper CPR training give all of us a way to be there for one another when we need help the most. It takes a village to save lives, and PulsePoint is helping to spur villages all over the country into action.

This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest, longest-running digital marketing and technology event. Check out allvoices.com/adtech for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.

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