CPR alert app for iPhones, iPads goes national

A California fire department is going national with a self-developed iPhone app that alerts people with CPR training of cardiac emergencies nearby. One reason is that the San Ramon Valley, Calif., Fire Protection District, which created the app, doesn’t have enough heart attacks in its coverage area to make it worth turning the app on.

So the district has created a nonprofit organization, Pulse Point Foundation, to distribute the free application to other communities, according to a report in the San Ramon Express.

San Ramon released the app, called Fire Department, earlier this year as a free download available on Apple’s App Store. Along with sending alerts of fires, pinpointing them on a map, it lets people trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation sign up to receive alerts on an iPhone or iPad.

If the volunteers happen to be within walking distance of where someone is having a heart attack or other cardiac emergency, dispatchers can send them an alert, while also notifies first responder crews. The app also can direct them to the nearest Automated External Defibrillator.

Fire Department has been well-received and has drawn interest from other municipalities. San Francisco was among the first of other cities to adopt it, according to KCBS.

However, San Ramon has run into a little hitch with the CPR app — the fact that there aren’t enough heart attacks in its coverage area to warrant using it. In fact, the CPR function of the app, which also sends alerts of fires and pinpoints them on a map, hasn’t been turned on yet, Brian Heaton writes in Government Technology.

District Fire Chief Richard Price, who is also president of PulsePoint Foundation, told Heaton that the app needs a population larger that San Ramon’s 170,000 people. The CPR alerts are sent only when emergencies occur in public places, which adds up to fewer than 75 a year.

Hence the move to go bigger.

Price told Government Technology that the PulsePoint Foundation was created to help other organizations adopt the application. Since Fire Department came out, more than 200 agencies have asked about it, and Arizona is planning to use it in dispatch centers statewide, the article reported.

Also, Intergraph Corp., which makes computer-aided dispatch systems, plans to add Fire Department to all of its accounts, GovTech reported.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is editor of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCaney.

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