Merced PULSEPoint App Can Help Save Lives of Heart Attack Patients

Published 02/04 2014 06:28PM

Updated 02/04 2014 06:45PM

In Merced, first responders are using new technology to help save lives.

Through the PULSEPoint smartphone app, people can receive a notification when someone is having a heart attack within a quarter mile in a public space. 

The idea is for anyone who is trained in CPR to be able to respond quickly while emergency personnel are on their way.
Every year, about 715,000 people die of heart attacks in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association. 

Every moment after a heart attack is critical.
"For every minute that goes by, you have a 10 percent chance less of surving the event," says Steve Melander, general manager of Riggs Ambulance Service in Merced. 

The technology is called PulsePoint, and in Merced, the app is known as PULSE--Public/Professionals Unified Life Saving Effort. 

It's a collaboration between the Merced Fire Department, Merced Police Department, Riggs Ambulance Service and Mercy Medical Center. 
"A call comes into the 911 system, dispatcher keys in the call, and then it's immediately communicated to PULSEPoint at the same time it's communicated to the professional first responders if it's someone in need of CPR," Melander says. 
Although first responders can arrive within a matter of minutes, within a matter of seconds, a heart attack victim begins losing blood and oxygen circulation--making every second count.
The app is free--and so is hands-only CPR training from the Merced Fire Department.

Deputy Fire Chief Don Long says the faster victims can receive chest compressions, the better are their chances of survival.
"[With CPR] you're circulating that blood that is no longer circulating by the heart. Also with that is the oxygen that's going throughout the body and specifically the brain."
About 250 people in the Merced area have downloaded this app so far. The initial goal is 1,000.
The app uses GPS technology to send users a notification but users stay anonymous.

Anyone can sign up, and no one who signs up is obligated to respond to a CPR notification, Long says. 
He adds that users are protected from liability under Good Samaritan Laws. 

The free PULSEPoint app can be found in the Apple App store or in Android Apps on Google Play. Search for "pulse point" in the app store.

The Merced Fire Department is offering free hands-only CPR. Contact them at (209) 385-6891. They are located at 99 East 16th Street Merced, CA 95340. Riggs
Ambulance Service in Merced and the American Red Cross also CPR training.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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