MILWAUKEE -- Several communities in the Milwaukee area will soon be signing onto a free app that they hope helps save lives. The app is targeted at getting cardiac arrest patients care before emergency responders arrive.
Imagine you are at the Milwaukee County Zoo when someone you are with goes into cardiac arrest. Emergency responders rush to the scene. But it could still be a few minutes before they arrive. As you wait, precious seconds tick away.
"Somebody laying on the ground without a heartbeat and not breathing, four minutes is going to ruin their chances of survival," said Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn.
But what if help could be there almost instantly? It turns out, there is an app for that.
"It's basically crowdsourcing CPR until first responders show up," said Lt. Dan Tyk with the North Shore Fire and Rescue.
The app is called PulsePoint. It is free and will be active in the Milwaukee area soon.
Here's how it works: If you know CPR and have the app, it will alert you when someone nearby needs your help.
"PulsePoint alerts to 1,200 feet or a 1,200 foot radius which is about a quarter mile," Tyk said.
The app will also tell you where the closest AED (automated external defibrillator) is located. The goal is to make responders out of ordinary people.
"The only way to really improve cardiac arrest is to make sure that once we arrive on scene, somebody's been doing something for that four, six or eight minutes prior to us getting there," Cohn said.
If the emergency is someplace with a lot of people, like the zoo, there is a good chance someone on site knows CPR. The app just makes sure those who can help know they are needed -- and tells them where to go.
"We can make everyday people into everyday heroes by assisting us," Cohn said.
Officials hope PulsePoint will launch in Milwaukee County by mid-June.
For the record, you can help keep the area’s AED listing accurate and up-to-date. Just download the Pulse Point AED app. Whenever you spot an AED, snap a pic and enter it into the app. That way, responders to the area will be notified there’s an AED nearby.