A new cell phone app is changing the question “is there a doctor in the house?” to “is there a CPR-certified citizen in the area?” In California's San Ramon Valley, the fire department has begun using a mobile, GPS-based notification system to get people who are trained in performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the site of a heart attack more quickly than emergency services could on their own.
The iPhone app, which is available for free download, directs area residents to cardiac emergencies in publicly accessible locations, as well as to the nearest Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The fire department coordinates and communicates with over 700 members of the Community Emergency Response Team using the app, and in the last six months they've begun including the public — more than 22,000 iPhone users — with a limited version of it. Since San Ramon Valley is only 155 square miles, that's nearly 150 people per square mile who are connected and ready to jump into action when CPR is needed.
Additionally, the app lets users check in real time on the status of each reported incident, such as when a rescuer has gotten to the scene and when professional emergency services are expected to arrive. Local personnel designed it with help from students at Northern Kentucky University's College of Informatics. If you're not in the San Ramon Valley, you can still download the fire department app from the Apple iPhone app store and catch the action from afar. And maybe this dramatic commercial from the San Ramon Valley fire department's website will inspire you to learn CPR and bring a similar app to your town.