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Fire District app debuts in San Jose

In conjunction with Valentine's Day, San Jose community leaders launched the PulsePoint citizen first responder mobile phone application designed to alert CPR-trained users to a victim in cardiac arrest. After a year working to get the app in the San Jose Fire service area, the district and El Camino Hospital unveiled the application at a news conference.

"In 2011 we dispatched 73,000 calls. Fifty thousand were medical in nature and of that 50,000, 608 indicated patients who were in cardiac arrests and needed CPR," said Captain Mary Gutierrez, San Jose Fire's public information officer.

The technology is already in place at the San Ramon Valley Fire District, which helped develop the app. Available for both the iPhone and Android smartphones, PulsePoint gives the public the ability to provide life-saving assistance to victims of sudden cardiac arrest, which causes nearly 1,000 deaths a day in the United States. The app also directs trained residents to the exact location of the nearest automated external defribulator (AED).

"Our fire chief is very progressive and believes in empowering the citizens in San Jose," Gutierrez said. "Last year we had a lot of CPR and drowning related incidents where bystanders jumped in helped. Because of their efforts, they actually were able to save lives."

Budget cuts have forced San Jose Fire to cut back on CPR training for residents, but a partnership with Local 230 will have firefighters teaching the life-saving technique again as early as March. Gutierrez said the district plans on attending community forums and homeowners association meetings to demonstrate the app and encourage people to sign up.

San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District won a prestigious IT award from Computerworld magazine's honors program for its app and was also listed as a Webby honoree.

The app is already making waves in the south bay, as one SRV firefighter received notice of cardiac arrest on his way to Tuesday's news conference. He was able to see that fire trucks were en route to the scene.

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