A life saving app

A life saving app

By Anne Craig

March 23, 2015


Queen’s University researcher Steven Brooks, working with the City of Kingston, Kingston Fire and Rescue and a number of other community partners, is launching PulsePoint, a mobile app that can save lives. This marks the first PulsePoint launch in Canada

Working with the Kingston Fire and Rescue dispatch system, the app will alert users trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when someone in a nearby public place needs CPR. The app also shows alerted CPR-trained individuals where to find a public automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is close.

“Calling 911, starting CPR and using an AED are the most significant interventions a bystander can make when someone suffers a cardiac arrest, doubling the chances of survival,” says Dr. Brooks, an emergency physician and clinician-scientist at Queen’s University and Kingston General Hospital. “Currently, the out-of-hospital survival rate for cardiac arrest is just five per cent in Canada. We can do better than this, and our hope is that PulsePoint will increase bystander intervention and help save more lives.”

Developed by Californian firefighters, making PulsePoint available in Kingston required a partnership that included Kingston Fire and Rescue, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Kingston General Hospital, Queen’s University and Bell Canada.

Chet Babcock, a cardiac arrest survivor, says an AED saved his life. Babcock’s CPR-trained hockey teammates, James McConnell and Casey Trudeau, administered CPR when he went into cardiac arrest at the INVISTA Centre. A third teammate, Mike Sears, went in search of a defibrillator. He found one with the help of Brad Amell, a volunteer firefighter who was in the foyer. They rushed back to administer the shock that likely restarted Babcock’s heart.

“The cardiac surgeon said that I would have had brain damage or died after five minutes if the AED [automated external defibrillator] hadn’t been used,” says Mr. Babcock, who is alive today thanks to the defibrillator.  “Needless to say, I am a big supporter of AEDs.”

 “Cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of preventable death and we know there are 40,000 sudden cardiac arrests in Canada each year. That’s one every 13 minutes. PulsePoint is all about connecting those who are CPR-trained to save lives with those who need their help,” says Richard Price, PulsePoint Foundation president.

Go to pulsepoint.org to download the app on your Apple or Android device if you are trained in CPR. The Queen’s community will also have an opportunity to sign up for PulsePoint April 7 at 1:30 pm during a demonstration at the ARC. 

Health Sciences