By Jeff Gallatin
A free new smartphone app just gave people who suffer a heart attack in the Westshore area a stronger chance at survival.
Cities in the Westshore Central Dispatch Center at St. John Medical Center implemented their partnership via the Cleveland Clinic with PulsePoint on Feb. 10. Those cities include Bay Village, Fairview Park, North Ridgeville, Rocky River and Westlake. On Feb. 15, the North Olmsted Fire Department linked with the PulsePoint Foundation and Physio-Control organization via University Hospitals and St. John Medical Center. Earlier, on Jan. 10, eastern suburbs in Cleveland linked up with PulsePoint via University Hospitals.
The free app, developed in 2009 by Richard Price, a fire chief in California, notifies people with CPR or AED defibrillator training within walking distance of someone who has suffered a heart attack in a public place, such as a bank or restaurant. Individual safety departments can configure the notification radius to meet their needs. So, departments with a high population density can make it a short distance, while those with low population density can extend the notification distance farther. The app also will show the location of AED devices within the same radius. It can also link to show the location of emergency workers responding to any call about the incident and can provide a link allowing the person being notified to listen to emergency communications channels.
The program covers several hundred cities in 17 states, according to PulsePoint.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that this app will save someone’s life in our area sometime in the future,” said Bay Village fire Chief Chris Lyons. “And it certainly will better the potential response to a cardiac arrest incident and help give someone who suffers an accident a better quality of life than they would have had before this app was available.
“Our fire department is proud of the fact that we have such a strong record of helping and saving people who have suffered heart incidents, and all the departments in the Westshore coverage (area) have fine records,” Lyons said. “This is certainly something which can help us and the people we cover. It’s an old saying, but fast response time saves lives. This certainly helps provide that.”
Lt. Ken Hehnen, who commands the North Olmsted Fire Department EMS units, said it adds to the number of qualified responders who can help someone in distress.
“These people can opt to help provide CPR until 911 providers respond,” he said. “It also helps by providing the location of AEDs that may be nearby. That’s a double boost by letting people know who can do CPR or who are trained on operating an AED. Those actions can mean the difference between life and death.”
Interested people can install the free app by searching PulsePoint on the Apple Store or Android Apps through Google Play.
“It’s pretty easy for anybody to find who is interested,” Hehnen said, “and so someone who’s interested can get it installed quickly and easily.”
He said even the ability to access the emergency responders’ information is helpful.
“It can let you know how close by help from emergency workers is,” Hehnen said. “That also can make a big difference.”
“It will make all of us safer,” Paul Barker, chairman of North Olmsted City Council’s Safety Committee, said. “It sounds like it will help both the people who are having health issues as well as the safety departments. And strong safety services are a major plus for any city and region. That’s a good thing and a reason why people want to live in certain cities. We already have strong safety forces, and this just adds to that.”