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Posted by By Byron Tollefson February 11, 2024 on Feb 17th 2024

App alerts users when CPR is needed nearby

App alerts users when CPR is needed nearby
On a cold rainy day in October 2022, Jay Peters was sitting in the parking lot of a Holland Meijer when his co-volunteer suddenly went into cardiac arrest.

Peters, a Holland City Council member at the time, was volunteering with the man for Community Action House, a nonprofit that provides food, clothing and shelter to those in need in the area. They were in a truck waiting to back it up to the dock at the Meijer when the man’s heart stopped.

Just two weeks prior, Peters had gone through CPR training. So after he called 911, he knew what to do.

“I was there probably for five minutes doing the chest compressions I just learned how to do,” Peters said.

First responders soon arrived and took him to a nearby hospital. Because Peters did chest compressions in the critical moments before first responders got there, he said his friend ultimately survived.

“That was enough to not only save his life but make sure his life is very livable from this point on,” he said.

Stories like these, of citizens doing CPR, are the motivation behind the coming launch of Pulse Point in Ottawa County — an app you download on your phone that can help save lives.

The app notifies users when there is a cardiac arrest taking place within a half mile of their location. It can take residents directly to the patient’s location so they can administer CPR.

“You’ll be in a position to save somebody’s life,” Peters said. “If your phone rings and it happens to be within a block or two or three blocks away, you’ll get there before the ambulance.”

Pulse Point is already in place in thousands of communities across the country. HeartSafe Holland, a community program which has trained more than 4,500 residents in hands-only CPR, is helping extend the app to Ottawa County starting this Wednesday. The group raised more than $30,000 to help connect the app to the county’s 911 dispatch system.

“The whole secret is getting there soon,” Peters said. “With Pulse Point, we average getting there three minutes faster than the professionals.”

More than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen each year outside the hospital, according to the American Heart Association. It’s essential for cardiac arrest patients to be treated as soon as possible. Peters said for every minute they lay on the ground without intervention, their chances of survival drop by 7 to 10%.