The app from the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District is the newest component in the Contra Costa County HeartSafe Community Program.

Department's 'Citizen Dispatch' CPR App Praised

The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District released a new location-aware iPhone app on Jan. 25 that will alert users who've indicated they are trained in CPR if someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency and may need help.

A possible breakthrough iPhone app has been introduced by the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District (SRVFPD), which serves a population of about 170,000 people in San Ramon and surrounding communities. The district is located in Contra Costa County, east of San Francisco, Calif. The app will alert users who have indicated they are trained in CPR if someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency and may need help. The app also directs the citizen rescuers to the exact location of the closest public access AED.

The district's chief, Richard Price, said SRVFPD "will share tools to allow other public safety agencies to deploy the Fire Department application at no cost in their community. Although pioneered here, the value of this application is far too important to society to not ambitiously share it with other communities around the globe."

Fire service and emergency response organizations praised the news. Dr. Joseph Barger, medical director for Contra Costa EMS, said the app "casts a much wider net over many more potential rescuers, and it greatly increases the odds that CPR will be started and an AED will be used, prior to the arrival of paramedics. It's very exciting to think about the lives that will be saved by this new technology."

Skip Kirkwood, National EMS Management Association president, said the app should increase the frequency and quality of bystander CPR and speed the use of public access AEDs. He said it is "paramount" to expand the reach of the app, which is impressively described at www.firedepartment.mobi. To try it free, search "fire department" at the Apple App Store or visit this link to install it on any iPhone or iPad running iOS 4.2 or later.

"Because of the enormous potential benefit to society in general, we are extremely pleased that Chief Price and the board of directors of the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District have generously chosen to share their work with others," said Jack Parow, International Association of Fire Chiefs president. "The IAFC is committed to seeing this technology implemented broadly and on multiple mobile platforms."

The app is the newest component in the Contra Costa County HeartSafe Community Program. It was designed by SRVFPD personnel in partnership with the Center for Applied Informatics at Northern Kentucky University.

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