BEND, OR -- Over the past two years, the Bend Fire Department has improved response times with increased staffing, and has raised the rate of survivability for cardiac patients. But, a new smart phone app aims to incorporate the general public into the equation.
Paramedic Engineer Petar Hossick is excited about the new Pulse Point app. He tells KBND News, "We know that the most important thing is time, in cardiac arrest. And, having any of the public step in and do CPR as quick as possible, improves that person’s chance of survival. They are the ‘tip of the spear,’ we really need them out there helping us. If we want to raise our survival [rate] in our city more than where it’s at, we can’t do it without the public." Bend Fire's rate of cardiac survivability is now at about 50%, compared to a national average in the single digits.
Hossick adds, "We’re going to start pushing this in all CPR classes to people, and encourage them, if they’ve taken CPR, to download the app. Also, [we're] reaching out to all the medical providers at St. Charles and BMC and locally, to encourage them to download the app."
Those who download and use the PulsePoint app are alerted when a nearby cardiac emergency is dispatched to medics. Users are provided on-screen instruction for "hands-only" CPR, and told if there is a public AED unit available. "There are a lot of them out there in sports clubs, government buildings, personal businesses. In fact, in Oregon, there’s a law- over 50,000-square feet, you have to have one. Our next point is really trying to identify where a lot of those are, because we know people have invested in them, but we’re still not totally sure where all of them are in Central Oregon. So, our next big project is to start identifying the locations and getting them into PulsePoint."
to view a video explaining how the app works. The local service is available through a partnership between Deschutes County 911 and seven area fire departments.