Sunday, December 3, 2023

Norfolk hopes this app will help save lives

PulsePoint can be downloaded to both Android and Apple phones (Rami Yoakum, Catherine Daivs/Southside Daily)
PulsePoint can be downloaded to both Android and Apple phones (Rami Yoakum, Catherine Daivs/Southside Daily)

NORFOLK — While everyone probably should know how to administer CPR, not everyone does.

For those who are, a new app launched recently through a partnership between the City of Norfolk’s Fire-Rescue and Eastern Virginia Medical School is meant to alert those trained in hands-only CPR if their services are needed nearby.

After all, the American Heart Association reports that more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year in the United States.

The app, PulsePoint, itself isn’t a new app. However, it is one that will now allow the city’s dispatch system to notify CPR-trained bystanders who have downloaded the app of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) event that might be occurring near them.

Capt. Drew Savage with Norfolk Fire-Rescue, said there are currently 932 people following them on the PulsePoint app, and 600 of those have been identified as being trained in CPR.

The app can be downloaded to both Android and Apple devices.

EVMS’ Bystander CPR service-learning team, composed of EVMS’ medical students, was integral in PulsePoint’s development and implementation in the city. During the past four years, the team has worked with Norfolk Fire-Rescue to teach hands-only CPR within the community.

“EVMS is honored to collaborate on PulsePoint,” said Cynthia Romero, MD, director of the M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health at EVMS, and an associate professor of Family and Community Medicine. “The PulsePoint app will now combine with the Bystander CPR training our students conduct throughout the city to enable more Norfolk residents to save lives. We’re grateful to be part of this unique – and vital – lifesaving effort in our hometown community.”

According to EVMS, the day after the app launched it got its first test, when a cardiac emergency occurred at Norfolk International Airport and two nearby CPR-trained PulsePoint app users were alerted.

Also launched at the same time was the companion PulsePoint AED app, which allows Norfolk residents to report and update locations of automated external defibrillators so that emergency responders can find a nearby AED when a cardiac emergency occurs.

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