Civilians saving lives: Westfield partners with Riverview to be first Hamilton County city to offer PulsePoint

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Westfield residents can perform life-saving measures with the aid of an app when someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest in Westfield, thanks to a partnership between the city and Riverview Health.

Riverview Health paid the implementation, subscription and license fees for the first-year use of the app, which totaled $19,500, to provide the PulsePoint mobile app in the City of Westfield. PulsePoint is a free citizen emergency response app that allows anyone with a smartphone who is trained in CPR to register on the app as a certified citizen responder. In a public emergency situation, local emergency dispatchers activate an alert to notify nearby app users. The certified citizen responder can then provide help.

When someone suffers from sudden cardiac arrest, each minute without CPR decreases survival by 10 percent. Even with adequate response times from local agencies, it can take several minutes for medic crews to arrive. Between six and eight minutes without CPR, brain death occurs. The PulsePoint app alerts users who are within a quarter-mile of the victim in the the event they can respond quicker than paramedic crews.

Reed

PulsePoint users are only notified if someone is suffering cardiac arrest in a public place. They are not notified if the incident occurs in private residence. Although app users should be trained in CPR, the Good Samaritan Law legally protects those who respond.

“If I’m within a quarter-mile when someone has a cardiac arrest, when the 911 dispatch center sends the units out, it simultaneously dispatches PulsePoint,” Westfield Fire Dept. Chief Marcus Reed said.  “The two things that are clearly documented in terms of survivability are if you receive CPR and being defibrillated. If those two things happen early on, they increase the survivability rate. Those two things right there really save lives.”

In addition to alerting app users, which can be civilians or off-duty first responders, the PulsePoint app also shows users how to perform hands-only CPR and displays a map to the nearest AED, or automated external defibrillator. Reed said most civilians are only taught hands-only CPR instead of breaths as well because compressions are more important for survivability.

Although the mobile app is free for Apple and Android users, the implementation cost allowed the city to tie the app into the CAD system, so when a unit is dispatched for a sudden cardiac arrest, PulsePoint users are notified. The fee was $10,000. Annual subscription costs are $8,000, and annual licensing fees are $1,500. The City of Westfield will pay the annual fees after the first year.

Reed said implementing the app was an easy decision. He previously worked in Portland, Ore., which already uses PulsePoint.

I came from an agency that’s on PulsePoint, so I have background in it,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of exposure to it, and it works.”

Reed said all communities should invest in the app. So far, Westfield is the only Hamilton County city to do so.

“We are proud to lead the way by adopting this technology in Westfield,” Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said. “This is a community effort. We have a shared mission with Riverview Health to create a healthy community. If we can equip our citizens with tools to support our vision and potentially save lives, we will do it.”

For more, visit pulsepoint.org.

Nikki Hartman demonstrates how a citizen would provide hands-only CPR to an individual suffering sudden cardiac arrest.

 CPR civilian training

In addition to PulsePoint, Westfield Fire Dept. Chief Marcus Reed said WFD will partner with Riverview Health for a CPR plan in 2020.

“We have a CPR plan for 2020, basically training people and getting people trained,” he said. “Our hope is to get into schools as well as businesses, that kind of stuff, so at a minimum we get people hands-only CPR trained.”

WFD plans to conduct outreach events for hands-only CPR training, such at next year’s Colts training camp. The department also plans to educate on PulsePoint during outreach events.

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