Evergreen Fire/Rescue paramedic promoting CPR app for devices

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Trained individuals could be alerted via phone during a cardiac arrest

By Stephanie DeCamp

When a person needs CPR, he needs it fast. And Evergreen Fire/Rescue paramedic John Locke is promoting a smart-phone app that would improve rescue times by getting qualified members of the public involved.

The app, “PulsePoint,” alerts CPR-trained users that someone within a quarter-mile is in need of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. It also gives the location of the nearest defibrillator.

Locke said that 32 percent of the time, when a person in a public place goes into cardiac arrest, no one steps in to perform CPR.

“I’m going to pursue this and go to the (Emergency Communications Authority) to see if I can get them to buy off on the whole deal,” Locke told the Evergreen Fire Protection District board at a recent meeting. “They’ve already contributed to Arvada’s doing the program, and theirs is more expensive than ours would be. It’s going to be around $14,000 for installation and a public awareness campaign, and then a yearly $5,000 to $8,000 for maintenance.”

Board member Dr. Valerie Leswing wasn’t entirely on board with the idea, wondering if the app would draw a crowd that would be hard for emergency responders to work around.

“My first thought is that this sounds really horrible,” she said. “I can’t think of anything more chaotic than 100 people of all different abilities coming to a scene when I’m trying to actively administer. You don’t want that many people to help you on a code.”

Locke assured the board that only those trained in CPR and resuscitation would be called, and would understand through a public awareness campaign that once first responders arrive, they need to clear out.

“When I get there and show up with my kit,” he said, “then we ask them to leave, and that’s it.”

Board President George Kling added that he once was at a gym when a man went into cardiac arrest, and because he was in another room, he didn’t know about it until the first responders arrived. If he had known, he said, he might have been able to save the man’s life.

Everyone agreed to have Locke present the idea to the Jeffco ECA to see if it could provide funding.

Contact Stephanie DeCamp at Stephanie@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1043. Check CanyonCourier.com for updates and breaking news.