On Nov. 30, 2012, the Pulsepoint application was launched by the UC Davis Fire Department (UCDFD) and City of Davis Fire Department (CDFD), along with the City of Davis Dispatch center. The app was conceived by Fire Chief Richard Price from the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District.
The smartphone app aims to allow community members to provide assistance to victims of sudden cardiac arrest. According to a UCDFD and CDFD media release, about 1,000 Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest every day. Many of these can be prevented if CPR and other lifesaving assistance is provided in time.
“The point of the application is to decrease the time between the initial incident and the time they are receiving life-saving CPR or defibrillation,” said Meghan Scannell, executive assistant to the Fire Chief at the UCDFD. “Citizens are bridging the gap between the collapse of the individual and the time that CPR is being administered.”
The app notifies citizen responders trained in CPR that there is an emergency nearby that requires their skills. All those in a half-mile radius that have the app will recieve a text informing them of the location of the incident.
Additionally, the app shows where the nearest automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are located. The app works in conjunction with the dispatch of paramedics and fire department resources to help minimize the time between the initial cardiac arrest and the start of CPR.
At all times, the locations of AEDs are shown on the map feature of the Pulsepoint application. This allows people trained in CPR to familiarize themselves with the location of these AEDs so they can be prepared if there is an emergency.
“It’s prudent to have this app on a college campus where we have so many people trained in CPR and have such readily accessible access to AEDs,” Scannell said.
Within 10 minutes of cardiac arrest, the oxygen deprivation can cause brain damage, so the sooner CPR is started, the better.
In addition, the app allows subscribers to monitor the radio traffic between the fire departments and the City of Davis Dispatch center. It also allows people to set alerts for incidents like structure fires or vehicle accidents. Lastly, the app provides a feed with images from incidents and events to keep users updated with the fire departments.
UC Davis is the first college campus to launch the Pulsepoint app. According to Scannell, there are about 60 AEDs located on campus and most are easily accessible to community responders.
In an effort to increase community responder CPR, the UCDFD will soon be offering Sidewalk CPR, short training sessions in hands-only CPR at locations across campus.
“I think it shows leadership around the area of sudden cardiac arrest survival and I think college campuses usually have AEDs,” said Price. “They have a large number of them on campus, but people don’t really know where they are at. The applications makes those who are CPR-trained and willing to assist much more aware.”
Price is now serving as the president of the Pulsepoint Foundation, which oversees the use of the application. It aims to make it easier for community members trained in CPR to put their life-saving skills to use.
“As the first university ever to adopt the Pulsepoint application, UC Davis is striving for excellence towards the health and wellbeing of students, staff, faculty and visitors to our community,” said UCDFD Fire Chief Nathan Trauernicht.
PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.