CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A new initiative by Chesterfield EMS is working to educate citizens on how to help in emergency situations.
On a daily basis, Chesterfield EMS workers answer the call for help. Last year, more than 47,000 of these calls came in. More than 300 of those calls were for patients who were suffering cardiac arrest.
Deputy Fire Marshal Sal Luciano said in situations like those, time is "essential".
That's why he says he is thrilled that the county is introducing a new way that citizens can step in to help one another in emergency situations.
The solution is simple as downloading two apps.
The first app, called PulsePoint Respond, allows people who have been trained in CPR to assist patients who suffer cardiac issues.
"If there's a cardiac arrest in a public place within a quarter of a mile, they will be alerted on their phone and can respond at the same time as fire and EMS is notified," Luciano said.
The second app, PulsePoint AED, allows residents and business owners to report the precise location of an automated external defibrillator (AED).
"You can plug it into the app, take pictures of the location and it gets sent to us. We verify it and it gets put into the PulsePoint Respond app so we will be notified if there's an AED close to the incident. Because early defibrillation and early CPR can make a difference in life or death in a patient in sudden cardiac arrest," Luciano said.
The app sends out alerts about the crisis, directions to the emergency location and even gives users directions on how to do CPR and use the AED until EMS workers arrive.
"We really think it'll make a difference and the key is we need a lot of people signed up because you have to be within a quarter of a mile," Luciano said.
Chesterfield Fire and EMS developed a hands-on CPR and AED awareness class that they plan to launch in February. It is a one-hour class that they will offer twice a month for any Chesterfield resident who wants it.
"They will learn these skills and we have mannequins where they can practice hands-on CPR. They won't get a certificate saying they are certified because it's not the full-blown CPR class but it's what they would need to be able to assist in a sudden cardiac arrest," Luciano said.