When someone’s heart stops, there are just minutes to save them from brain damage or death; by the time medics arrive, it can be too late. This is the problem former San Ramon Valley Fire Department chief Richard Price set out to solve with the crowdsourced iOS app, PulsePoint. Price came up with the idea for the app after a tragedy that happened feet from where he was sitting, reports Re/code.
Off-duty firefighter Scott Brawner was working out in a suburban Portland gym this spring, listening to Pandora, when suddenly the music stopped. An app on his phone warned him that someone nearby needed CPR. Brawner reportedly raced around the gym, trying to find the victim, before heading to the parking lot, where he saw a man sprawled on the pavement. He began giving the man CPR until fire and rescue units showed up. The man’s survival wasn’t just a blessing for his family, it was a huge victory for the PulsePoint Foundation, a Bay Area nonprofit whose app is making it easier to alert CPR-trained people that someone nearby needs help. Crowdsourcing has been used for everything from political campaigns to potato salad, but PulsePoint’s app represents the first time it has been used on a wide scale to help save dying people in cardiac arrest. Victims have very little time — generally 10 minutes or less— to receive CPR before they either lose brain functions or die.