PulsePoint App Promotes Rapid Cardiac Arrest Response in Howard County MD

March 18th, 2016 by Birch Barron

Get the app. Activate alerts. Save a life.

The principle behind the free-to-use PulsePoint app is simple: cardiac arrest events occur in public places every day, and CPR-trained community members may be seconds away.

The PulsePoint app uses mobile device technology to connect CPR-trained users with people in need of their life-saving skills. PulsePoint is integrated with the 911 dispatch system, so the app identifies the need for help the instant an emergency takes place. App users are alerted through their phones when they are in close proximity to a cardiac arrest, at which point the app directs users to the patient’s side, provides CPR instructions, and locates nearby public access defibrillators.

The chance of survival from cardiac arrest decreases rapidly without CPR or defibrillation. By the time trained EMS providers arrive on scene, a patient may be beyond rescue. “Every additional minute of hands-only CPR can make the difference between life and death,” says Dr. Matt Levy, Medical Director of Howard County Fire and Rescue. “We are stronger as an EMS system when the whole community gets involved.”

Howard County, Maryland went live with PulsePoint in October of 2015, becoming the first jurisdiction in the region to offer the service. Although the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue pays to maintain the PulsePoint connection, the services are completely free of charge for users. PulsePoint app users anywhere in the United States can follow the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services to see a live map of fire and medical calls, locate public AEDs, and receive access to vital emergency alerts.

Follow these simple steps to see PulsePoint in action:

  • Download the free PulsePoint app to your mobile device.
  • Select ‘I am trained in CPR’ to be alerted to cardiac arrests that occur within ¼ mile of your location (this function will work anywhere in the country that PulsePoint is active).
  • In the ‘Agencies’ tab, find and follow Howard County Fire and Rescue.

The program has gained over 1,200 followers in the five months since its initiation, and Howard County residents have seen the impact of the program firsthand. “I don’t know how many times a CPR-trained individual has been right across the hall from a cardiac arrest and never even known about it,” observes Brad Tanner, a Howard County Community Outreach Specialist and CPR Trainer. “PulsePoint helps us get the right people to the right place at the right time to save a life.”

Serving as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, Office of the Medical Director, Barron was the program manager for all aspects of the implementation of the PulsePoint system. His work included building top-level consensus on key policy questions, working with IT and local dispatch to integrate PulsePoint into a dispatch center database, and working with Public Information and Community Outreach to organize media events and the overall public information strategy.

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