Dispatch service raises $19,000 to bring PulsePoint phone app to Marion County

COURTESY PHOTO: PULSEPOINT - The PulsePoint app shows users where AED's are located and provides other lifesaving services.PulsePoint, a smartphone application that directs users to the closest portable automated external defibrillator when someone nearby suffers cardiac arrest, will soon be helping to save lives in Marion County.

Dispatch service METCOM 911 has successfully raised all the funds it needed to pay for the smartphone app and should have the system up and running within 12 weeks, according to METCOM director Gina Audritsh. Pulsepoint takes at least 12 weeks to set up, although METCOM has asked for an expedited setup in eight weeks.

"Of course I would like it tomorrow," Audritsh said.

METCOM started its fundraiser in November 2017, with a goal of $18,000. It raised $19,000, with the extra $1,000 meant to cover the cost of connecting PulsePoint to its CAD system. The total cost of the application was initially estimated to be nearly $43,000, but changes at the PulsePoint Foundation led to a drop in the price to only $27,000.

What makes the PulsePoint app so appealing is that it was created to alert a user's phone when there's a cardiac incident happening nearby, and it alerts them to where the closest AEDs are located. The CAD system sends out an alert to emergency responders at the same time.

The chances of surviving a cardiac arrest incident are reduced by up to 10 percent with every minute that passes, according to the American Heart Association. And if it takes an average of seven or eight minutes for emergency responders to arrive on the scene, according to national statistics, that greatly deteriorates the success rate. With the app, a person can respond almost instantly.

Now that the fundraising is complete, METCOM needs to educate Marion County residents about the services and get users to register their AEDs. The web app relies on users to upload the location of AEDs, plus a description of where in their building it is and a photograph.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us," Audritsh said

METCOM will launch the first part of its PulsePoint system in the week following Independence Day and begin registering users across the county.

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