Emergency responders rush to hundreds of cardiac arrest calls each year in Merced County, and they say every minute truly counts.
Riggs Ambulance General Manager Steve Melander said, "The statistics show for every minute that goes by your chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest goes down by 10 percent."
That's why several local agencies, including Riggs Ambulance and the Merced City Fire Department, are now working together to promote the PULSE program.
Melander added, "PULSE stands for Public and Professional Unified Life Saving Effort, so it's a new program where we can enact citizen responders."
Residents who are willing to perform CPR can now download the PulsePoint app for any smartphone. It uses GPS information to alert you if someone is going into sudden cardiac arrest in a public place within a quarter mile of your location. It also shows you how to access nearby automatic external defibrillators.
Chief Michael McLaughlin with the Merced City Fire Department said, "Our goal is to help our citizens become the first first responders. The people that are in the business next door to an incident can lend a hand before we can ever get there."
Merced's PULSE program also includes efforts to teach people hands only CPR. The method uses just chest compressions to circulate oxygen through the body. It takes less than ten minutes to learn, and Chief Michael McLaughlin believes the benefits outweigh any risks.
"You always run the risk of breaking ribs or doing that type of thing, but you have to remember this individual is for all intesnvie purposes dead, and without intervention they will stay that way," said Chief McLaughlin. "With CPR they have a chance."
The American Red Cross still encourages everyone to take full CPR courses, but Merced Office Manager Sherry Pitchford Says every effort helps.
Pitchford added, "It is very rewarding once you save a life, and even if you're not successful just the attempt of saving a life is very wonderful."
To download pulsepoint app:
Download it from the Apple App store, or for Android Apps on Google Play. Within the app select Merced PULSE, Merced County California. Subscribers can also view active fire and emergency medical incidents
To get hands only CPR Lessons:
Merced City Fire Dept:
For Full CPR Classes:
American Red Cross, Merced Office