Williamson County EMS has begun using an app designed to help alert volunteers when CPR is needed and to help everyone locate a nearby defibrillator.
The PulsePoint Respond app uses GPS on mobile phones to alert CPR-trained volunteers to someone nearby in CPR. The app will notify people if the person having a cardiac emergency is in a public place, and will also direct people to the location of the closest publicly accessible Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
"For every minute that they don't receive CPR, their survival rates decrease by 10 percent, so we have to have the community’s help,” said Mike Knipstein, director of Williamson County EMS.
In a large county, with growing traffic, Knipstein said they aim to respond to patients within 8 minutes, but even that's not always possible.
That's one of the reasons the app alerts anyone within 750 feet, which they said is walking distance.
According to Knipstein right now, of the people who had heart problems and called 911 in Williamson County, 70 percent didn't get CPR help from a bystander.
"It’s not because our citizens don't care it’s because they don't know,” said Knipstein.
So that's where the Pulse Point app comes in.
From Round Rock to Cedar Park, anywhere in the County, the app will let you know who needs help.
"It’s all about the citizens helping each other,” said Ed Tydings Division Commander of Operations for Williamson County EMS.
They hope it will help in cases like Sylvian Beaudin who collapsed while at the gym.
"It's kind of weird, I don't remember going to the gym, I woke up in ICU,” said Beaudin.
A fellow gym member stepped in and started CPR until paramedics arrived. Sophie Roberts was one of the Williamson County paramedics who responded, and said that quick action from a stranger was critical.
"That immediate CPR makes a difference between life and death,” said Roberts.
It's something Beaudin is truly grateful for.
"The folks that were in here exercising, everyday citizens are the ones that brought me back,” said Beaudin.
And it's something emergency crews hope can happen more often with this new app.
"The important thing is to try and do something and don't just sit there and watch,” said Tydings.
Its companion app, PulsePoint AED, allows citizens to upload public locations of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).
This is all part of Williamson County's effort to teach everyone in the area CPR. You can find a CPR class on their website here.
East Texas Medical Center EMS also utilizes the PulsePoint technology.
TAP HERE to learn more about how PulsePoint works.
TAP HERE for download links on iOS and Android devices.
This story will be updated with more information.