SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a coupling of the region's emergency response system with a smartphone app that would notify people with CPR training when someone in their immediate vicinity is suffering sudden cardiac arrest.
County officials said sudden cardiac arrest can occur in outwardly healthy people, and it claims nearly 1,000 lives daily throughout the country. It can be treated with early CPR, defibrillation, advanced cardiac life support and mild therapeutic hypothermia, which is most effective when started in three to five minutes, officials said.
However, emergency response times can often be six minutes or longer, Supervisor Ron Roberts said.
"Clearly the faster first responders can get to the victim, the greater the opportunity for saving lives," Roberts said.
Roberts said the PulsePoint smartphone app would use information from the county's existing 911 system to notify nearby CPR-trained bystanders, such as off-duty firefighters, police officers, nurses and lifeguards, and can direct them to the nearest automated external defibrillator.
The app will use location-based services built into phones to send a map of the victim's location to a CPR provider in seconds, according to Roberts and Supervisor Bill Horn.
"Where there's a will -- or app -- there's a way," Roberts said.
The data could also help identify areas that lack defibrillator access, Roberts said.
Roberts and Horn said adopting the PulsePoint system and encouraging more San Diego County residents to learn CPR would lead to a healthier and better-trained community. By incorporating PulsePoint into the emergency call system, a new group of citizen first responders could improve public safety and save lives, they said.
"If you recognize a problem, don't be afraid to respond. It could be a matter of life and death," Horn said.