CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cardiac arrest can happen anytime, anywhere. And 25% of the time, that "anywhere" is a public place, where strangers aren't
always willing, or able to help.
But your chances of survival are higher now that Cleveland is "crowd-sourcing" CPR through a free, and life-saving app.
When Donald Austin collapsed of sudden cardiac arrest, he was in Cleveland's traffic court on the 12th floor of the Justice Center.
A bailiff quickly sprung into action to help save him. But while they waited precious minutes for EMS to get there, several other people came to the courtroom to assist.
They were alerted and directed there by PulsePoint.
"What PulsePoint does is find those strangers in a crowd who are really interested in helping and giving CPR," said Tom Beers, EMS manager
for the Cleveland Clinic, says it works similar to an Amber Alert.
You get a tone on your phone. It disables all other apps, and lets you know where CPR is needed, as well as the location of the nearest AED device, or public defibrillator.
An alert only goes out if the 911 call came from a public place, then all pulse point users within a 400-meter radius are notified. The
app is already responsible for saving several lives, like an Oregon man fresh off a work-out at a gym, and a one-month-old baby in Washington.
Fifteen Northeast Ohio communities are already PulsePoint connected via software for their dispatch center, including Cleveland, West Shoreway
cities and those served by the Chagrin Valley dispatch. The city of Lakewood will also be PulsePoint connected in the next 60 days.
EMT's are excited to hear the area is now able to activate bystander response.
"It's going to help us tremendously because every minute that goes by your chances of survival go down by ten percent. The national average for response is 7 minutes for us to even get on scene," said Chuck Cali with Cleveland EMS.
When CPR-trained citizens respond, the app even has a function that can help guide them through chest compressions or hands-only CPR
Now Beers says The Cleveland Clinic wants to get as many people as possible to download the app and help make Cleveland one the most heart-healthy
cities in the nation. They also want to make the Cleveland marathon the most heart safe race in the country.
"We are trying to get all the spectators to download the PulsePoint app so we can actually get a visual representation of the course map
with it completely lined with people who are willing to help," said Beers.
In less than a year, and with just a few connected cities, there were 27 local cardiac arrest alerts sent out with 37 citizens responding.