Beaverton and other area communities have a new way to save lives

February 7, 2013 by  

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue has become the first fire department in Oregon to use a smartphone app that could help them locate people in need of emergency service. Tualatin is approximately nine miles from Beaverton, which, like other Oregon municipalities, will be watching the app’s performance closely.

PulsePoint is a free app for a person’s smartphone that alerts users when there is a need for CPR is a nearby public location. The app tells willing bystanders exactly where the emergency is, as well as the specific location of automated defibrillators that can be operated by members of the public. In other words, people who are willing to perform CPR will be notified when they’re needed, where the victim is, and where the closest defibrillators are.

About three years ago, the app’s creator, Richard Price, was having lunch when he heard sirens and wondered where the emergency was. He was astonished to realize it was next door, where a person was in cardiac arrest. Had he been aware of the crisis, Price, who is a retired firefighter, could have helped. He carries a defibrillator in his trunk and knows techniques of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He could have provided vital assistance in those critical minutes until emergency services personnel arrived. The fact that he was next door and didn’t know about the medical emergency nagged at Price until he came up with the idea of the app.

Tualatin, Beaverton, and other cities and towns considering PulsePoint could work with brochure printers to explain the system to residents. They could also consider a second brochure to explain the basics of CPR and defibrillation.