HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, and local emergency responders are using a new tool with hopes to get community members involved in saving lives.
The Harrisonburg Fire Department and Rockingham County Fire Rescue have partnered up to release the free app PulsePoint, which could help save the lives of those who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest.
“We know in fire rescue, how minutes and seconds count when it comes to cardiac arrest,” said Erin Stehle, the Public Education Officer at HFD. She said the hope is to get people who are CPR certified to download PulsePoint, because the app is connected to local emergency response dispatch, and can alert others who have the app when CPR is needed nearby.
“And in addition, it will let you know where the AEDs are, which is what you would want to use to help defibrillate the heart back,” Stehle said.
You can follow both the County and the City on the app to see a live feed of all dispatch calls, and there are even step by step instructions for how to give CPR, but Stehle suggests getting certified.
“It gives you kind of peace of mind when you’ve had that practice, and you’ve had the actual course itself to learn everything there is about sudden cardiac arrest,” said Stehle.
She says it is common for people to be hesitant when helping in an emergency, but in these situations, it’s critical for someone to start CPR as soon as possible because it does not take long for brain damage to set in after someone suffers from sudden cardiac arrest.
A common misconception is that sudden cardiac arrest is the same as a heart attack, but a heart attack occurs when blood vessels in the heart get clogged and begin to prevent blood flow to the heart.
Sudden cardiac arrest can be the result of a heart attack, but Stehle says SCA is more so compared to an electrical problem in the heart, whereas a heart attack can be compared to a plumbing problem.
According to PulsePoint.org, SCA can happen to anyone at any time, and many victims appear healthy with no known heart disease.
Stehle says with this app you could help save a life, and she wants to encourage everyone to download it and become CPR certified, so they can use PulsePoint to help during the time it takes emergency responders to show up.
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