Your local fire department wants your phone to help save lives. A new, free mobile phone application called "Pulsepoint" is now available to residents.
The app includes the Alameda Fire Department, the Alameda County Fire Department, Livermore Pleasanton Fire Department and the Fremont Fire Department, which share dispatch services.
On Thursday, fire chiefs from the four departments unveiled Pulsepoint.
"This is arguably the greatest technological innovation toward saving lives since CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] was introduced," said Interim Chief Demetrious Shaffer of the Alameda County Fire Department.
"We are here to introduce Pulsepoint to the community," said Shaffer. "This is designed to support communities."
Shaffer said a public service announcement has been created for television to spread the word about the new app.
Pulsepoint is a free phone application for smartphones designed to engage bystanders trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and to encourage them to render aid in cases of cardiac arrest.
"Bystander CPR" is the goal of the emergency notification to get CPR-trained citizens to respond to nearby cardiac arrests. The notification is only sent if the event is happening in a public place.
Shaffer says over 350 thousand people die annually from cardiac arrest and that in Alameda County, bystander CPR is administered less than 25 percent of the time.
"In cases of cardiac arrest, for every minute that passes, there is a 10 percent drop in survival rate," said Shaffer. "There are 300 million people trained in CPR."
According to Shaffer, Automated External Defibrillators or "AEDs" are used less than 3 percent of the time during these emergerncies, despite the availablity of the lifesaving tool. There are more than 1,200 AEDs in Alameda County, with more to come.
Fire Chief Richard Price of the San Ramon Fire Department says it was not long ago when he learned someone nearby could have used his life-saving skills.
"I learned too late that someone was having a cardiac arrest right next door to me," he said. "The Pulsepoint app is used to alert nearby good Samaritans simultaneously with emergency responders."
Price says the app also notifies users of AED defibrillators near the emergency.
The application was made possible by WorkDay, a software service company in Pleasanton.
"Thirty thousand people have already downloaded the phone application," commented Price. "Pulsepoint is available to all of Alameda County at no cost, thanks to generous donations from companies like WorkDay."
Livermore Pleasanton Fire Chief Jim Miguel is encouraging everyone to get CPR trained and says CPR has been taught for 50 years in this country.
"There are hundreds of places ot get trained in addition to online options that offer CPR training," said Miguel. "For those who don't think they could give CPR, there is a new type of 'hands-only' CPR for those not comfortable with traditional CPR. Learn CPR, download the apps and make a difference in someone's life."
Download Pulsepoint by clicking here.
What do you think of the new phone application? Do you have it or are you going to download it? Tell us in the comments section below.