A new application for mobile devices now available in Marin County is designed to provide the public with real-time fire agency incident information and to locate CPR-trained people near someone in cardiac arrest.
The free PulsePoint app, available on the App Store and Google Play, recently expanded its geographic scope so that Marin residents will have access to real-time fire incident information, and local bystanders in Marin can be alerted to administer cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if needed. When pre-selected, cardiac arrest alerts are sent to participating residents only when an emergency occurs in a public place.
The app was introduced Friday, February 14, and adopted into use by all Marin fire agencies, the Marin County Emergency Medical Services Agency (Marin EMS), and the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). PulsePoint is fully endorsed and paid for by the Marin County Fire Chiefs Association, led by Novato Fire Chief Bill Tyler.
PulsePoint users can preselect which types of incidents to follow or know instantly what is going on when fire engine or ambulance sirens are sounding in their neighborhood. The app is available in English, Spanish, French and Japanese.
“PulsePoint is proving every day that social media can save lives, and we are thankful it’s now available in Marin,” Tyler said. “In addition, it can be used as a tool for wildfire and other fire incident notification to keep the public better informed about emergencies in our county.”
In June 2019, Al Hart of Fairfax was on a training run in Pleasanton when he collapsed on the side of a road. A friend flagged down a motorist, who called 9-1-1 and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Two brothers driving by together, both firefighter cadets, pulled over and took over CPR. The emergency call automatically had activated PulsePoint, which alerted CPR-trained people within a tight radius of Hart’s location.
Within minutes, several lifeguards from a pool at the Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area arrived and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock Hart’s heart. Paramedics then arrived and continued advanced life support while transporting Hart to a local hospital. Hart fully recovered. He is back to work and back on the running trails.
“It’s really hard to fathom that I was clinically dead,” said Hart, who recently celebrated his 60th birthday. “I woke up five or six days later from an induced coma. Because of PulsePoint, it triggered the right people, the EMTs, the whole nine yards. I’m incredibly lucky. Thankfully this is one of those stories with a happy ending. It’s good to be alive.”
Through the use of location-aware mobile devices, PulsePoint builds applications that work with the public and first responders to help reduce the millions of annual deaths from sudden cardiac arrest. The International Association of Fire Chiefs describes cardiac arrests as “not just a job for emergency responders but rather a community-based issue that requires a community-based response. In no other medical situation is there such a vital reliance on the community.”
PulsePoint is activated in more than 3,800 communities in 42 states, with nearly 2 million active users. It has activated more than 360,000 responders to 100,000 cardiac arrests since its inception.
Marin HHS estimates that it responds to 400 cardiac arrests each year, many that take place in public places where bystanders could assist before the arrival of a medical professional. In 2019, Marin fire agencies responded to 418 emergency calls for cardiac arrest.
“With PulsePoint, we hope to increase bystander involvement in time-sensitive medical calls,” said Marin County Fire Chief Jason Weber. “It gives our residents and visitors the chance to start potentially lifesaving CPR while our personnel respond to the scene. Those are make-or-break minutes.”
“Improving situational awareness with PulsePoint can help build safer, stronger, and more resilient communities,” said Richard Price, President of the nonprofit PulsePoint Foundation.
Source: Marin County Press Release