Citizen superheroes saving lives with NKU app

Mar 2, 2015

On May 9, 2014 Oregon firefighter Scott Brawner was exercising at a health club when he got an alert on his smartphone. The notification was from PulsePoint, an app originally designed and built by Northern Kentucky University.  It was the idea of former California fire chief Richard Price.

The 9-1-1 connected mobile app is designed to alert CPR-trained citizens of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)  emergencies in their proximity.

When there's an alert PulsePoint displays a map. In less than a minute Brawner found the victim unconscious in the parking lot outside his gym where a security guard had called 9-1-1. Brawner immediately began hands-only CPR and continued with the chest compressions until paramedics arrived. About a week later Brawner had a reunion with the the man he is credited with saving, 57 year old Drew Basse.

Erlanger, Kentucky and about 1100 other cities use PulsePoint in 22 states, including Cleveland and Columbus. The app has rolled out in Canada and soon will be available in Australia.

Watch how it works.

Erlanger has had the app for three years and new Fire Chief Todd Whitaker noticed the department wasn't promoting it. His department is in the process of checking all area AEDs to make sure they are working and then will begin a marketing campaign for PulsePoint.

According to Whitaker, "If we were just able to save one person, (it's) all it takes to be a success."

PulsePoint says the app does not raise any HIPPA or privacy concerns because it only displays the address of the emergency and business name, if there is one. Information like the victim's name, health records and social security number are not displayed.