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Delaware County, Ohio, Launches Medical Emergency App

The new tool will tie into Delaware County’s 911 dispatch to alert CPR-trained individuals of medical emergencies so they can provide assistance in the critical minutes before an ambulance arrives.

PulsePoint app
Delaware County officials agreed to purchase PulsePoint phone application to enable civilians to be notified of a nearby medical emergency.
(TNS) — For those stricken with a heart attack or other medical emergency, it may take several minutes for paramedics to arrive. A new phone app for Delaware County residents, however, will allow a patient to seek out help from those nearby, who may be trained to render CPR or another life-saving measure.

Called PulsePoint, the application will be connected to the county's 911 system, which will send an alert out to other app users who can pinpoint the exact location of a patient and provide assistance in the critical minutes before an ambulance arrives.

It is widely acknowledged that for every minute the brain goes without oxygen, there is a 10% less chance of surviving, according to studies from the National Academy of Sciences.

"The benefit of alerting bystanders to an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is that the victim would receive CPR much faster than waiting on first responders to arrive," said Jeff Fishel, director of Delaware County EMS.

The Delaware County Commissioners on Monday approved the new system, which will be operational in August. It will cost the county $20,000 to set up and $10,000 annually thereafter to maintain it.

Delaware Fire Chief John Donahue, who helps coordinate the county's Pre-Hospital Care System Advisory Board, said the system will be worth it if it saves only one life.

"We have so many recreational areas, so many trails and so many cardiac arrests," he told commissioners. "If we can get this out and people can use this, and if we get some help to someone quicker before we (EMS) get there — it's going to be a difference between life and death."

The Columbus Division of Fire already has been using the system for several years, said Battalion Chief Steve Martin. There currently are 33,103 users.

The app allows a user in Columbus to be alerted to all dispatched emergencies, except for violent crimes, SWAT standoffs or "other runs we don't want people going to because they are dangerous," Martin said.

The app also notifies users of the nearest automated external defibrillator, or AED machine.

"It definitely has saved lives," Martin said.

©2021 The Columbus Dispatch, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.