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Kingston Fire dispatches the public with new app

Kingston Fire & Rescue in Ontario has enlisted members of the community to help with its response to cardiac arrests – all thanks to a new app.

In March, Kingston became the first municipality in Canada to buy and use the application PulsePoint. The app sends out an alert to users when someone nearby is in need of CPR. It also gives users locations of any nearby public defibrillators.

The app, which is free for users, piggybacks on the fire department’s dispatch system. Users are who are within 500 metres of a cardiac-arrest incident are notified at the same time as the department.

While new technology is always cause for some apprehension, Fire Chief Rhéaume Chaput said the app was a logical step to connect CPR-trained members of the community to the department’s dispatch information.

“It provides a gap measure that allows quicker response to people who are suffering cardiac arrest,” he said. “It’s an immediate Band-Aid solution until we can get emergency responders there.”

Kingston is an ideal city for the app, Chaput said. The military base, university and major hospital means there are many CPR-trained people in the community.

“The people who are downloading the app are the people who are perhaps interested in making a difference,” he said. “I think overall it will help save lives.”

PulsePoint is a non-profit foundation based in the San Francisco Bay area. The app was developed by Richard Price, a former California fire chief, and is being used in more than 1,100 communities in the United States.

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May 4, 2015 
By Maria Church

Kingston Fire & Rescue is the first municipality in Canada to launch the Pulse Point app

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