(Washington, DC) – Today, as part of #SaferStrongerDC Week, Mayor Bowser announced two pieces of technology that will increase access to life-saving interventions during a cardiac emergency: the PulsePoint app and Atrus Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Link software.
“Performing CPR immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or even triple a victim’s chances of survival, so, of course, we want to do everything we can to make it easier for people to help. CPR coupled with immediate access to an AED can change the trajectory of a patient’s recovery,” said Mayor Bowser. “As we continue building a safer, stronger DC, these technologies are game changers for our residents and visitors.”
PulsePoint is a public-facing smartphone app that will alert users when a cardiac emergency is happening near them. When a cardiac arrest incident is placed into the District’s 911 computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, an alert will automatically be sent to any person within 0.25 miles of the cardiac emergency who has registered for notifications with PulsePoint. These alerts will include the victim’s location as well as the nature of the emergency. AED Link is new software that makes it possible for 911 call takers at the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) to tell callers the location of all registered AEDs near a victim.
“It is distressing in our line of work to find out later that an AED was available and nearby but not used to treat a patient,” said OUC Director Karima Holmes. “Now our operators are able to know if an AED is available. Both of these technologies are excellent tools the public now has to help someone in need.”
Sudden cardiac arrest accounts for more than 350,000 deaths in the United States each year and is one of the leading causes of death in the country. Unfortunately, approximately 95 percent of people who experience sudden cardiac arrest die as a result, mainly because treatment within minutes is not available. According to the American Heart Association, “CPR done within five minutes of a person’s collapse combined with professional care can increase survival rates by as much as 50 percent.” In addition, recent studies show that knowing the location of a nearby AED can bring the average survival rate up to 33 percent. In the District, survival rates for patients in cardiac arrest have increased each year since 2014, with survival rates when bystander CPR is administered increasing from 16 percent to 26 percent.
“Bottom line: the faster treatment is given to someone whose heart has stopped beating, the more likely it is that person will survive,” said FEMS Chief Gregory Dean. “These technologies give our first responders a head start on treating sudden cardiac arrest, and that can only result in better outcomes for patients.”
Washington, DC’s PulsePoint app was made possible through a grant from the CTIA Foundation.
In addition to these new technologies, FEMS and Serve DC continue to train District residents and visitors in the Hands on Hearts program. The Hands On Hearts program provides free life-saving, hands-only CPR training to people across the city. The initiative was launched by Mayor Bowser in October 2015 with the goal of training 5,000 people in a year. As of today, more than 35,000 people have been trained.
Throughout #SaferStrongerDC Week, the Mayor has been highlighting new and innovative programs that make Washington, DC safer and stronger.