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Phone app enables citizen bystanders to provide life-saving resuscitation

Liz Pyke

VAIL – With a simple alert from your phone you could help save a life.

On Sept. 3 Jeff Olson saved the life of a 1-month-old infant in Spokane Washington. Olson a master technician received a message on his phone that CPR was needed two blocks away from where he worked. Olson also a volunteer EMT had recently downloaded the PulsePoint app on his smartphone. Olson raced to the dance store where 1-month-old Nolan was turning blue and not breathing. Store clerk Lesley Reckord called 911 minutes before that.

Olson knew his lifesaving skills were needed because he registered his phone with the PulsePoint app. While fire paramedics were still several minutes away the app put Olson in the right place at the right time to keep Nolan alive according to ABC7 Eyewitness News.

“And this guy just came out of nowhere and just scooped the baby up and really knew what he was doing which was such a blessing to all of us” Reckord said.

Starting Hearts a local nonprofit dedicated to saving the lives of sudden cardiac arrest victims in Eagle County recently launched the PulsePoint app in the county through a partnership with the Vail Public Safety Communications Center. The PulsePoint mobile application helps improve community response to sudden cardiac arrest victims by enabling citizen bystanders to provide lifesaving cardiopulmonary resuscitation and access public access automated external defibrillators.

“It's incredible and inspiring that the PulsePoint app saved the life of an infant in Spokane” said Lynn Blake Starting Hearts founder and sudden cardiac arrest survivor. “SCA can happen to anyone and anywhere. It can happen to an infant in Washington or an infant right here in Vail and as citizens we need to make a conscious effort to do something about it. We need to be prepared to respond to an emergency like that in our hometown.”

Blake is right. The more CPR trained individuals who register on the PulsePoint app in Eagle County the more lives that can be saved.

“Our goal is to increase sudden cardiac arrest survival rates in Eagle County” said Blake. “But we need more trained CPR participants to download and register on the PulsePoint app so they receive these important alerts from our local 911 agency.”

PulsePoint is tied in to the Eagle County's computer aided dispatch system and notifies users who have signed up for the app that are within a half-mile radius of the person in need of emergency intervention. The app then sends the user a map to the location of the person in need of CPR and the nearest AED.

Individuals experiencing sudden cardiac arrest have only minutes until death unless a bystander or trained responder recognizes the symptoms and takes immediate action. Even under the best of circumstances professionally trained first responders are potentially seven or more minutes away from conducting life-saving measures. Time is of the essence without intervention each passing minute the odds of survival drop dramatically.

“When every second counts the nearest 'Neighbor Saver' could make the difference between life and death” said Blake.

To receive notifications and help save lives:

1. Download the free PulsePoint app on your smartphone.

2. From the agency list find and follow Vail Public Safety Communications Center.

3. Go to settings and select the “CPR” notification box.

Starting Hearts provides a free CPR training in a hands-on 45-minute program called “Call Push Shock.” Starting Hearts brings its mobile Heart Rod training bus to participants so learning CPR is easy and accessible to anyone. To schedule a free CPR training call 970-331-4066 or visit

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States accounting for an estimated 325000 deaths each year or 1000 deaths per day. The American Heart Association estimates that effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a person's chance of survival. However only about one quarter of sudden cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR and even fewer receive a potentially lifesaving therapeutic shock from a public access AED. Improving bystander CPR rates and access to AEDs are critical to survival.

Vail Daily | Tuesday October 7 2014