Having used TargetSafety’s PreventionLink platform for more than five years now, the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District is no stranger to innovative technology.
The Districts Fire Chief Richard Price has watched how hi-tech advances like online training have boosted his staff’s operations, so he’s constantly searching for more ground-breaking solutions.
Even while dining out.
“I was at lunch at a deli when I heard a siren and saw a truck on the street pull into the deli,” said Price, who was describing what led to the District creating a revolutionary new iPhone application that empowers everyday citizens to provide life-saving assistance to victims of sudden cardiac arrest.
“Here I am on duty, in uniform, and crews are responding to a cardiac emergency right next door. As fire chief, I carry a pager, but I’m not notified of every single medical emergency. But this one was right next door to where I was. We just thought that we need to find a way to do something. That was the genesis of this project.”
The iPhone CPR app, which was released in January and is free to download, gives users trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) alert notification when someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency. The application uses sophisticated GPS technology to inform users when an emergency is happening at a particular location. It also directs users to the closest available automated external defibrillator (AED).
“The creation and deployment of a smartphone application that notifies trained bystanders of nearby cardiac arrest events completely redefines the traditional meaning of a witnessed arrest by expanding awareness over a much broader area,” Price said. “Providing actionable, real-time information during a sudden cardiac arrest emergency, including mapping the victim and rescuer locations, along with the nearest AED locations, is the quintessential use of GPS technology on a mobile phone today.”
Time is incredibly precious during cardiac arrest and Price knows every second counts. In fact, survival rates nationally are less than 8 percent and brain death begins in just four to six minutes. “Considering emergency medical service responses averages more than seven minutes and nearly 300,000 people die each year in this country from cardiac arrest San Ramon Valley’s application can be incredibly useful for all departments,” Price said.
“The application is built specifically for the San Ramon Valley area in Northern California, but is capable of working in other locations,” he said. In fact, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White announced plans to implement the application later this year for the San Francisco Fire Department, which handled 356 cardiac arrest cases last year nearly one a day.
“The District will share tools to allow other public safety agencies to deploy the application at no cost in their community,” said Price, whose District has started a foundation dedicated to helping other departments utilize the application.
“Although it was pioneered here, the value of this application is far too important to society to not ambitiously share it with other communities around the globe,” he said.
The District, which serves a population hovering around 170,000, tested the application for six months preceding its release and pushed more than 600,000 notifications during the trial period. Clearly, quality technology is something Price knows can pay a huge dividend including his Districts utilization of PreventionLink.
“TargetSolutions is a component of our overall technology strategy and it’s been a very efficient way to deliver training content,” Price said. “We think technology like the iPhone app and PreventionLink can make a big difference and we are definitely trying to use technology in unique ways throughout our organization.”
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.