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SLO City Fire Reaches New Milestone with PulsePoint

Post Date:11/06/2019

Knowing that time is critical for someone whose heart has stopped beating, the City of San Luis Obispo Fire Department today announced it has reached a significant milestone with the free smartphone app that can save lives by partnering with bystanders.

As of November 1, 2019, SLO City Fire has 4,268 subscribers on the PulsePoint App.  At this same time last year there were 2,410 subscribers – nearly doubling the subscriber base over the last 12 months.  This application first went live in November 2016.

 “CPR skills are ones you hope to never use, but early use of CPR, together with AED support, greatly improves the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest and this app has proven to better connect those in need with those who have the skills to save a life,” said Fire Chief Keith Aggson. 

 In the last three months, 76 subscribers have been alerted to possible cardiac arrest incidents occurring in a San Luis Obispo City public place, allowing a victim of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) a greater chance of survival should a CPR willing citizen arrive at the scene before first responders.  According to statistics from the American Heart Association, each minute that passes after sudden cardiac arrest results in a 10 percent reduction in likelihood of survival, meaning that every second counts.  As more citizens sign up for CPR alerts in our community, victims of SCA are given a greater chance of survival.

The simultaneous notification of fire, ambulance and PulsePoint responder occurs within seconds of a 911 call to the City’s Emergency Communications Center. Citizens with the PulsePoint app who are close to the person in need receive an audible alert and routing instructions. The app includes refresher information about how to properly perform CPR, including an audible metronome to ensure CPR is being delivered at the correct rate. The app also directs these citizen rescuers to the exact location of the closest publicly accessible Automated External Defibrillator (AED). (See how the app works in this video.)

The City Fire Department’s goal is to deploy firefighter-paramedics so they are within four minutes travel-distance to the majority of all emergencies in the City. This standard for response is based on recommendations from the Nation Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and has been reaffirmed with greater specificity by the City Council. Initiating CPR for victims of SCA before those crews arrive can be critical for survival. 

 SLO City Fire encourages everyone to download the app, which will also work in other cities that have enacted it. Recently Cal Fire/San Luis Obispo County Fire and Five Cities Fire Authority started utilizing the app as well. PulsePoint is available for iPhone and Android and can be downloaded from the iTunes Store and Google Play. For more information about the app, visit www.pulsepoint.org.

While becoming familiar with administering CPR is ideal, the app will walk non-medical personnel through the basics of performing CPR, even if they aren’t trained in CPR. Meanwhile, Good Samaritan laws offer legal protection for anyone trying to help someone in need of CPR. And with hands-only CPR protocol, those concerned about the potential for communicable disease transmission through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation will have their mind put at ease. Hands-only CPR is compression-only CPR without mouth-to-mouth.

 The annual cost of $8,000 for this application is funded through revenue from the voter-approved local sales tax, Measure G and supported by the San Luis Obispo City Council. 

 “The PulsePoint app is just one of several tools the SLO City Fire Department has taken on to increase citizen preparedness for emergencies,” said Aggson. “The Fire Department’s “Prepare SLO” campaign also offers many helpful guides from preparing for the next major disaster, preventing injuries & illnesses to merely improving home safety.” 

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