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6/12/2018 1:21:00 PM
PulsePoint application in Clark County nears reality to cardiac emergencies
Clarksville Fire Department Sgt. Justin Gouldy performs chest compressions on a respiratory mannequin while demonstrating the use of CPR on a non-responsive individual. | STAFF PHOTO BY TYLER STEWART
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Clarksville Fire Department Sgt. Justin Gouldy performs chest compressions on a respiratory mannequin while demonstrating the use of CPR on a non-responsive individual. | STAFF PHOTO BY TYLER STEWART

Brooke McAfee, News and Tribune

CLARK COUNTY—Dr. Eric Yazel wants citizens of Clark County to be able to use their CPR-training to provide life-saving assistance in emergencies. But in order to offer that help, residents need to know exactly when and where it is needed.

That’s why Yazel plans to introduce the new mobile application PulsePoint, which will notify CPRtrained users in Clark County if someone nearby is suffering from a cardiac emergency.

Yazel, Clark County’s health officer, received a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana last Wednesday for the PulsePoint program.

PulsePoint is a free application for users that shows them where they need to go if someone experiences sudden cardiac arrest in a public place, so they can administer CPR as advanced medical care is dispatched. The app also directs them to the nearest location of an Automated External Defibrillator.

The app has already been introduced in communities across the country.

Yazel is hoping to have the full funding for the program within six weeks. He is about $1,500 away from being able to implement the program.

The initial startup fee for the community is around $22,000. Additionally, the program has an annual maintenance fee of $8,000.

He has received a number of other grants for PulsePoint, including around $11,000 from the Indiana State Department of Health.

“It sounds like a lot of money, but if it saves even one person, that family will consider it well-spent,” Yazel said.

Phillip Beaman, board chair of the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana, said the program is in line with the organization’s emphasis on “healthful living.” He hopes the application will shorten response times to emergencies.

“With Clark County, there’s a lot of urban and ruralareas, and it can complicate response times to emergencies,” he said. “With PulsePoint, people might be able to receive care more immediately than they did in the past.”

In Monroe Township, response time is an issue for residents. According to fire chief Mark Furnish, ambulances can take about 15 to 30 minutes to arrive. The township’s volunteer fire department usually is one of the first responders on the scene at an emergency.

Furnish said a program such as PulsePoint could be useful because immediacy is key in addressing emergencies such as cardiac arrest.

“An extra minute anywhere could be life-saving,” he said.

However, he said more densely populated parts of Clark County would probably have a better response to the program and a higher number of application users, so the success of the PulsePoint in Monroe Township would depend on how many people sign up.

Beaman said PulsePoint could make Clark County communities more involved and connected as the app users come to the rescue of strangers in need of CPR or defibrillation.

As they prepare the program to go live, Yazel’s goal is to have more CPR-training courses in Clark County to increase the numbers of people who can use the PulsePoint app to respond to emergencies.

There are many concerned citizens who want to be good neighbors and assist in emergencies, Yazel said, but they often need more direction in order to help. PulsePoint could be a guide for those people.

PulsePoint also will allow off-duty first responders, such as firefighters and EMTs, to be aware if their help is needed nearby, he said.

The PulsePoint application is also user-friendly, Yazel said. “Tech-challenged people would do just fine with it,” he said.

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