First responders hope new app will save lives in Michiana

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CLAY TOWNSHIP, Ind. (WNDU) - Michiana first responders are hoping a new mobile application called PulsePoint will increase the odds of survival for SCA, or sudden cardiac arrest.

"PulsePoint is a mobile application that alerts citizen responders to cardiac arrest events in our community," said Jaren Kilian, the assistant chief of Clay Fire Territory.

It works like this: 911 gets a cardiac arrest call, then they send a notification to the app at the same time they alert first responders. That message to the app is received by users near the victim in a public place.

"So, if you were in a grocery store and an emergency happened, you could be on one side of the grocery store, the app alerts you that there's an emergency in that same location while the fire department and paramedics are responding. You have the ability, if you receive that notification, to respond to that emergency before we even show up," Kilian said.

The app is currently set up in South Bend, Mishawaka, Clay Township and Penn Township. The total cost of implementing the technology is $25,000. All the departments involved split the costs between them, along with St. Joseph County 911.

"You don't have to be certified in CPR in order to use this application. You don't have to take an official class. We can train someone in as little as two minutes to do hands-only CPR," Kilian added. "We've alerted several hundred calls through this system already. We know that the thing is working."

Once you download the app, you can follow the fire departments in your area if they are one of the departments mentioned above. When you follow them, you are able to receive messages when there is an emergency.

PulsePoint also has an adjunct application that will help you locate defibrillators nearby. St. Joseph County 911 says that's a valuable tool to have.

"It's allowing us the technology to know when there's a defibrillator available. In previous instances, if there was sudden cardiac arrest in public, we wouldn't know if there was a defibrillator available," said Nancy Lockhart, the fire operations chief for St. Joe County 911.

The app is up and running, and it is up to you to help build the network of good Samaritans.

"So, as soon as people start downloading this, they're live in this moment today. They can start affecting lives as early as this afternoon," Kilian said.