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CLEVELAND -- Firefighters, police and EMS want you to get involved.

University Hospitals is among the first in Ohio to be equipping the police and fire crews with a new smart phone app that enlists the public as part of the front-line responders when someone nearby is suffering from a heart attack.

University Hospitals has made the cities of South Russell, Chagrin Falls, Chagrin Falls Township, Bentleyville, Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Woodmere and Highland Hills the first group to institute the PulsePoint notification system.

The new Chagrin Valley Dispatch Center, based out of UH Bedford Medical Center, is at the center of the new technological advancement as the system has now been integrated into the 9-1-1 protocols.

The set of 10 cities are under UH ambulance protocols as the health system purchased the licensing agreement from the company with the intent of enrolling all of the fire department and EMS crews under its jurisdiction with the programming.

PulsePoint is a software-as-a-service solution designed to support public safety agencies working to improve cardiac arrest survival rates through improved bystander performance and active citizenship.

The PulsePoint app empowers everyday citizens to provide life-saving assistance to victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Application users who have indicated they are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and willing to assist in case of an emergency can now be notified if someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency and may require CPR.

If the cardiac emergency is in a public place, the location-aware application will alert trained citizens in the vicinity of the need for bystander CPR simultaneous with the dispatch of advanced medical care. The application also directs these citizen rescuers to the exact location of the closest publicly accessible Automated External Defibrillator.

Dan Simon, MD, Director, UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute said technology continues to significantly impact survival rates not only in the operating room but with practical applications such as PulsePoint.

"The data has shown that the faster basic life-saving efforts are conducted on a heart attack victim, the better the survival rates," Dr. Simon said.

Notifications are made simultaneously with the dispatch of paramedics to anyone within the area that is CPR-trained and has indicated their willingness and ability to assist during an SCA emergency. At the time of need, users who have opted-in receive a push notification accompanied by a distinctive alert tone.

The notification is followed by a map display showing the dispatched location of the emergency along with the precise location of the citizen rescuer – providing for easy navigation between the two. The map display also shows the exact location of the nearest AEDs. In many cases nationwide, nearby AEDs have not been used when they could have made a big difference. The application aims to address this type of failure by informing citizen rescuers where the nearest AED is located – in real-time and in context of their current location.

Orange Village Police Lt. Nick DiCicco, who has been integral in the formation of the new Chagrin Valley Dispatch Center, said the technology is invaluable.

"I truly believe it is a great piece of equipment," he said. "If someone goes into full arrest, they get this message through their phone and they can provide basic life support until a crew can get there…it will save lives. If someone can step in until we get there, that is fantastic," DiCicco said.

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