April 12, 2014 in Washington Voices

Spokane Valley City Hall to join defibrillator sites

By The Spokesman-Review

From left, Firefighter Brad Huffman, Firefighter Justin Holderby, doing compressions, Battalion Chief Andy Rorie and Captain Bill Malpass participate in a reenactment during the PulsePoint introduction and demonstration in February.
(Full-size photo)

Your chances of surviving a heart attack at Spokane Valley City Hall soon will improve.

After learning about a new effort that uses smartphones to alert CPR-trained volunteers to life-threatening emergencies nearby, city leaders decided to purchase a heart-jolting automated external defibrillator that paramedics say can dramatically improve chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest.

The easy-to-use medical device, which cost about $1,250, is set to arrive in the next couple of weeks.

“I think we were kind of surprised when we realized there wasn’t one here,” said Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard.

The decision came after the City Council was told last month that Spokane-area fire departments are mapping the locations of AEDs in publicly accessible sites countywide.

The electronic map is part of a smartphone app called PulsePoint that’s linked to the county’s 911 system and alerts trained volunteers to emergencies at the same time that paramedics are being dispatched. The app guides volunteers to the location of the emergency and also shows whether any AEDs are nearby.

It’s available for free in the Apple App Store or Android Apps on Google Play. Volunteers must register.

Once the city’s new AED arrives, City Hall will be added to the PulsePoint map.

So far, authorities have mapped 102 publicly accessible AEDs in Spokane Valley and they expect that number to climb rapidly over the next year because firefighters now will be asking business owners about the availability of the devices while doing annual site checks, said Fire Chief Bryan Collins.

The Spokane Fire Department and several rural fire protection districts also are mapping AED locations.

The app was developed in northern California where Collins worked before being hired in Spokane Valley.

On average, at least two people a day go into sudden cardiac arrest across Spokane County, said Collins, and chances of survival improve the quicker CPR or AED treatment is initiated.

The PulsePoint app uses smartphone GPS technology to determine whether any CPR volunteers are near the scene of an emergency and alerts them that help is needed. The goal is to get at least hands-only CPR initiated within the first three to five minutes of sudden cardiac arrest.

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