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Emergency app notifies nearby people with CPR traning who can assist cardiac arrest victims

PHOTO COURTESY OF PULSEPOINT - The PulsePoint app is available on both iOS and Android, and can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play.The Lake Oswego Fire Department will join a list of first-responder agencies this weekend that are connected to a smartphone app called PulsePoint Respond, which alerts nearby people with CPR training when a person is reported to be suffering a cardiac emergency.

The app is scheduled to go live in Lake Oswego on Sept. 1.

According to LOFD Fire Marshal Gert Zoutendijk, the goal is to empower bystanders to provide potentially lifesaving assistance to cardiac arrest victims in order to improve overall cardiac arrest survival rates. CPR can make a critical difference in a person's survival chances during the minutes before paramedics arrive at the scene, he says.

Users can download the PulsePoint Respond app on the Apple App Store or Google Play and register by indicating that they have CPR training and are willing to assist in case of an emergency.

The app uses GPS to determine users' locations. If someone calls 911 to report a cardiac emergency, the responding agency's dispatch center will automatically notify all nearby bystanders with CPR training through the PulsePoint app (in addition to dispatching fire and paramedic crews).

"It's not going to alert people about a cardiac arrest on the other end of town," Zoutendijk says. "It only will do it in a certain radius where you're able to respond in a timely manner."

A companion app, PulsePoint AED, can be used to direct bystanders to the nearest Automated Emergency Defibrillator unit, many of which are available in public places throughout Lake Oswego. Users can also help expand the LOFD's AED database, Zoutendijk says, by using the app to send in information about public AED units that aren't yet listed.

"Early CPR, together with early application of an AED, saves lives," he says. "We believe PulsePoint will be a powerful tool in our efforts to increase survival rates in our community. In addition to the lifesaving CPR notifications, the application provides a complete virtual window into our emergency communication center."

Clackamas County Fire District 1 and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue — the two first-responder agencies on either side of Lake Oswego — have already been connected with PulsePoint for several years. Zoutendijk says TVF&R has been the driving force behind the rollout of PulsePoint throughout the Portland metro region.

But Zoutendijk says that until recently, Lake Oswego's LOCOM dispatch center used a different computer software system than the one used by the dispatch centers at TVF&R and CCFD1, which prevented Lake Oswego from connecting with them on the app.

"When they went to PulsePoint both in Clackamas and Washington counties, we couldn't go because we would've had to be on our own," he says. "But we knew at the time that all three dispatch centers were going to be on the same software, so we (said) we'll wait until we get on this new system and then we'll upgrade and be part of it."

The LOCOM systems were updated earlier this year, Zoutendijk says, putting Lake Oswego on the same software as the other two agencies and paving the way for the PulsePoint rollout.

Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Anthony Macuk at 503-636-1281 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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