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Downloading an App to Your Smartphone Could be the First Step to Saving a Life

A laptop and smartphone are being used simultaneously by a person

When a person’s heart stops beating suddenly, every second counts. It’s essential to administer lifesaving treatment within five minutes. But often, no one trained in CPR or AED is available to do this. Many sudden cardiac deaths could have been prevented if responders and AED equipment were on hand.

When sports physician Dr Stuart Armstrong reviewed research on this topic, he recommended using Apps to improve survival rates in a “worst case scenario” situation. So how can a simple smartphone app have this kind of impact?

Several free apps are vital for emergency response in a cardiac arrest incident. They can bring responders to the scene quicker, locate a nearby AED and provide training in basic CPR skills and AED use.

The UK-developed GoodSAM has successfully directed nearby trained responders to assist cardiac arrest patients worldwide. The app allows emergency control centres to identify off-duty responders in the vicinity of the patient and ask them to administer CPR until an ambulance arrives.

The AED Locations App is a handy database of AED locations that first responders can access to locate the nearest AED to their incident.

Anyone can be ready to help patients with the St Johns CPR app. It’s a training tool with tutorials on CPR for adults, children and infants, and AED use that teaches everyday people basic lifesaving skills.

GoodSAM App

The first five minutes after a person suffers a cardiac arrest count. Patients have a greater chance of recovery if they receive CPR and defibrillation within this short window. Their survival rate drops by 7–10% every minute they wait for defibrillation. Often emergency services cannot respond that quickly. However, it’s likely that in the near vicinity, there is an AED and someone who knows how to use it and administer CPR. They don’t attend to the patient, however, because they are not aware of the incident

The GoodSAM app was first developed in the UK to counter this issue. It connects off-duty medical, police and rescue personnel or trained first aiders with victims within 1000 metres of them. The app has been highly successful and is now used throughout the world. In New Zealand, it’s supported by St John, Wellington Free Ambulance and the National Cardiac Network after that group evaluated several apps and chose GoodSAM as the most suitable for New Zealand.

How does it work?

Suitably qualified responders register and download the responder app to their smartphones. Then when the 111 clinical control centre receives a call about a suspected cardiac arrest, they alert nearby responders. The alert sounds like a siren on the responder’s phone, and a map with the location of the incident and the nearest AED is automatically displayed. This allows responders to attend immediately and apply essential life support until the ambulance arrives.

As volunteer responders download the app, coverage is growing throughout New Zealand and improving the outcome of cardiac arrest

How to sign up as a responder

St Johns has more information about the GoodSAM app on their website: www.stjohn.org.nz/first-aid/lifesaving-apps

AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) Locations App

An automatic external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that can diagnose life-threatening cardiac conditions and treat them through defibrillation, allowing the heart to re-establish its rhythm. There is an army of AED’s located at key public sites throughout New Zealand. Those assisting with responding to a cardiac arrest need to find the closest AED urgently. Every second counts.

The AED Locations App has been designed to locate the nearest AED to your phone location. Owners have uploaded information to create an AED database. Users open the app on a smartphone and browse the location map to find the closest AED. You can locate or contact the owner/business by clicking on it to get it to the emergency scene as quickly as possible. The AED database is stored in the app, so it can be accessed even if your device is offline.

“Survival from V-Fib is largely determined by the amount of time from collapse to defibrillation, and the sooner defibrillation is administered, the better.” – AEDUSA

St John New Zealand CPR App

St Johns is a leading provider of first aid training. Their App teaches cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and shows how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Knowing this information could enable you to save the life of a family member, friend or even a complete stranger.

The app is free. It has tutorials with audio prompts for adult, child and infant CPR and AED. A built-in beeping and vibrating timer will help you apply consistent chest compressions.

This is the app that everyone should download before facing an emergency. Take time to complete the tutorials and do refreshers often. This will give you the basic knowledge and the recall to act quickly in an emergency.

Downlaod these free apps from Google Play, Apple, or Microsoft to your smartphone and keep them handy on your homepage.