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App Alerts Bystanders To Cardiac Emergencies

Dane County First Responders Hope Technology Will Provide Faster Help

Heart monitor
brykmantra (CC-BY-SA)

First responders are trying to get more good samaritans in Dane County to help when someone experiences cardiac arrest in public places.

The effort involves a smartphone app that alerts users when someone nearby needs CPR or chest compressions. The app, called Pulse Point, is free and anonymous. It briefly tracks the location of the phone during an emergency, but doesn’t identify the phone’s user.

Christopher Carbon is a paramedic and Madison firefighter. He said Pulse Point works like this: when the 911 center gets a call about cardiac arrest in a public place, they alert first responders, along with citizens nearby who previously downloaded the app. Users have to be within a quarter of a mile to get an alert.

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“And then what happens is it sends out a notification to any of those phones and it essentially says, ‘CPR is needed close to your location, Would you like to respond?’” Carbon explained.

Carbon said, last year, Dane County had more than 500 sudden cardiac arrests. National figures show only 1 in 3 of those victims get help from bystanders.