If you were to suddenly go into cardiac arrest in the District, a call to 911 could have emergency responders on site in under 12 minutes. Having someone provide CPR even more quickly might double or triple your chance of survival.
With the launch of two new emergency services technologies, the District wants to make that aid more likely, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser announced Thursday.
When a call comes through D.C. dispatch, PulsePoint Respond, a free app for iPhone and Android phones, will now alert its CPR-trained users within a quarter-mile of the incident so they can administer aid. The app also displays the locations of known automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs, in the District, a tool that combined with CPR can resuscitate someone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest.
Emergency service dispatchers in the Office of Unified Communications will also be able to direct callers to the locations of nearby AEDs with AED Link, a software tool from Atrus, Inc., which maintains a national registry of defibrillator devices.
"It is distressing in our line of work to find out later that an AED was available and nearby but not used to treat a patient," OUC director Karima Holmes said. "Now our operators are able to know if an AED is available."
Sudden cardiac arrest is the cause of more than 350,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, and approximately 95 percent of those affected die because immediate treatment isn't available, according to the statement.
Survival rates in the District have been on the rise since 2014.
The new technologies will support the Hands on Hearts CPR-training initiative launched by the mayor's office in 2015, the release said. A free program led by the D.C. fire department and Serve D.C., the Hands on Hearts program has trained more than 35,000 people in hands-only CPR techniques.
Announced during #SaferStrongerDC Week, the platform for the mayor's public safety agenda, the new programs intend to increase the odds D.C. residents will survive a sudden cardiac arrest.
"As we continue building a safer, stronger D.C., these technologies are game changers for our residents and visitors," Bowser said in a statement.