SLO County public safety app alerts when CPR is needed nearby

Jul 22, 2019

A new local public safety app went live this week, and it’s meant to save the lives of heart attack victims. At the same time, it alerts users to emergencies in San Luis Obispo County.

It’s called PulsePoint, and when downloaded to an Android or Apple device, it alerts people trained in CPR to someone nearby having a heart attack.

“The app will alert them if they're within half a mile of a cardiac arrest event that comes through our dispatch center.” said CalFire San Luis Obispo fire captain and paramedic Rob Jenkins.

“It can take—even in an urban area—up to eight to ten minutes for first responders to arrive and start providing assistance,” Jenkins said. “Every minute that goes by without CPR, your chance of survival is going to decrease by ten percent, where after ten minutes, the chances of reviving you are near zero.”

Jenkins said the app will also provide a map and directions to the nearest automated external defibrillator—or AED—to help save heart attack victims. You don’t need to be a doctor to use it; when you turn on the device, it walks you through the entire process of hooking it up to the patient and doing CPR.

The app has a notifications dashboard, so users can choose which situations they are notified of, like if there’s a wildfire in the county.

“It's not going to tell you that you need to evacuate, but it would let you know if [a wildfire] was happening near you, and you could make that decision on your own, before we've issued an evacuation order,” Jenkins said.

CalFire San Luis Obispo says it doesn’t do anything with users’ data through the app. And it only works for people having heart attacks in public places—it won’t notify of heart attacks taking place at residential addresses.