Roslyn de la Torre was on her way to work when she saw a crowd gathered around a man who had collapsed of an apparent heart attack on the sidewalk. A registered nurse, de la Torre got out of her car and immediately began giving the man CPR. Within 4 minutes, the paramedics arrived but it may well have been de la Torre’s quick actions that saved Elbert Kirby’s life. With a person suffering a heart attack, the first two minutes can determine life or death.
“It’s amazing that CPR is the reason I am here today,” said Kirby, a 50-year volunteer with the American Red Cross.
This narrow window of timing in which life can hang in the balance, is why Los Angeles County officials have launched PulsePoint, the “AMBER alert for cardiac arrest victims.”
When a person is in cardiac distress and a call is made to 911, one of the five public safety communications centers in the county activates the app which sends an alert on the phone and gives a GPS location at the same time that local fire and emergency responders are notified. It was developed by PulsePoint Foundation, a San Francisco based organization that is building applications for public safety agencies, and supported by the Wireless Foundation, a nonprofit that includes several wireless provider companies that support wireless innovation and initiatives
Celebrating its launch, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Fire Chief Daryl Osby joined de la Torre and Kirby as well as the app founder in Inglewood joined together for the official release.
“Simply put, this app is really a life-saving opportunity,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “Now qualified responders can do their part to help a heart attack victim. It is a great resource for all county residents.”
The app, which is free, is available for both iPhone and Android phones. More than 13,000 people in the county have already downloaded PulsePoint but county officials hope more residents take part.
“Mobile technology can help us build and safer, more resilient community,” said Chief Osby.
Added de la Torre, who is now friends with Kirby and his wife, “A few minutes can make a difference in saving someone’s life.”
For more information on CPR classes throughout LA County, residents can call (323) 881-2411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.