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Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Launches Lifesaving App

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is coming up with more ways to help local residents receive CPR in the event of an emergency.

On Jan. 18, the department announced the official launch of PulsePoint, a mobile phone app that connects to 9-1-1 and alerts CPR-trained residents if someone in a nearby, public location is experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

The rate of survival from SCA decreases by 7-10% for every minute that passes before help arrives, according to the department. The app can be downloaded from the Apple Store or on Google Play. Potential resident responders are also alerted to the exact location of a defibrillator.

Fire Chief John Butler is encouraging residents to download the app.

“In working with PulsePoint, our goal is to get every resident with access to early intervention in order to save as many lives as possible,” Butler said.

Butler pushed for the institution of the app in Howard County, Md., where he served as fire chief before becoming the head of Fairfax County’s department in 2018.

Last year, the American Heart Association (AHA) created new guidelines urging fire departments to have the capability to alert willing bystanders to the need for CPR.

The AHA recommendation was considered and played a significant role in the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Departments’ implementation of PulsePoint,  Battalion Chief George Robbins, Fairfax County’s community risk reduction program manager, said.

He noted that CPR-related calls are fairly common in Fairfax County. In 2019 and 2020, the department responded to 645 and 663 patients where EMS crews attempted resuscitation respectively, Robbins told Reston Now, Tysons Reporter’s sister site.

An email is required to set up an account once the app is downloaded.

Photo via PulsePoint Foundation/Facebook

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