Northern California

Long Beach Fire Deploys App to Speed CPR Response

Pulse Point, the app buzzes your phone when someone around you is in need of CPR, potentially decreasing the wait time before someone in need gets help.

Long Beach has signed on to a new smartphone app that alerts nearby users when someone needs CPR, and emergency personnel said the connection could mean the difference between life and death.

Called Pulse Point, the app buzzes users' phones when someone in close proximity is in need of CPR, potentially decreasing the wait time before someone in need gets help.

Inside the Long Beach emergency operations center, 911 operators coordinate calls and emergency crews, and navigate about 40 cardiac arrests calls a week, averaging 4 to 5 calls a day.

“Over a thousand people a day die of sudden cardiac arrest across the country,” Long Beach Fire Department Deputy Chief Rich Brandt said.

Brandt says Pulse Point is an essential tool to save more lives.

“Or improve their chances of survival," he said.

The iOS and Android app is a free download. Once it’s on the phone, users share their location with the developers and the fire department, who are able to alert you when someone nearby needs CPR. Even if a user doesn’t know how to perform the technique, the app can deliver a play by play, even down to the chest compression rate.

"We take pride (that) we provide best service possible,” said Jake Heflin with the fire department. “We’re not everywhere all the time, we rely on community to help fill that gap."

Heflin said about 500 Long Beach residents have downloaded the app since they launched two week ago, and they are hoping for tens of thousands more.

The developer is a former fire chief from Northern California and said the app doesn’t store any information other than the phone’s last location.

Long Beach fire said it hopes the app will empower more residents to help maintain each other’s safety, especially with something as accessible as CPR.

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