What is the Pulse Point Mobile App?

PulsePoint is an App now available to residents of Santa Clara County that alerts CPR-trained bystanders to someone nearby having a sudden cardiac arrest that may require CPR. PulsePoint is being used in more than 525 communities across 17 states.

What is its purpose?

  • To increase the survival rates of cardiac arrest victims by:
  • Increasing citizen awareness of cardiac events.
  • Increasing awareness of public access defibrillator (AED) locations through real-time mapping of nearby devices.
  • The goal is to get bystander compressions started as soon as possible, before EMS arrives on the scene, giving the patient the best chance of survival. This system has already saved countless lives and is installed in hundreds of jurisdictions worldwide.

How does it work?

PulsePointPhoneThe app is activated by the local public safety communications center simultaneous with the dispatch of local fire and EMS resources. The app is only activated if the event is occurring in a public place (the app is not activated for residential addresses). In addition to the life-saving CPR/AED functionality, the app provides a virtual window into fire and EMS activity in the community, offering a unique opportunity for citizens to understand how they work.

The app requires a connection to the local public safety communications center, it is only available where adopted and implemented by the local Fire/EMS agency. When a cardiac arrest is reported, not only are EMS, Fire and police crews dispatched, bystanders who have installed the app in the area are also alerted when they’re within about a 1/4 mile of the GPS location reported by the 911 call. It gives them walking directions to the location of the cardiac arrest patient and nearby AEDs.

Who created it?

Development of the PulsePoint app began in June 2009 as a partnership between the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District (SRVFPD) and the College of Informatics at Northern Kentucky University (NKU). Both versions use Computer-aided Dispatch (CAD) interface developed by FirstOnScene, LLC. The App is currently available for both iPhone through the iTunes store and for Android phone through Google Play.


  • Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Over 424,000 people will suffer from sudden cardiac arrest each year. (SCA kills nearly 1,000 people a day or one person every two minutes) and nine out of 10 victims die.1
  • Cancer and heart disease are the leading causes of death in Santa Clara County and account for 50 % of all deaths.2
  • Survival rates nationally for sudden cardiac arrest are less than 10.4%.3
  • Delivery of CPR is life-saving first aid, and can sustain life until paramedics arrive by helping to maintain vital blood flow to the heart and brain.4

Bystander CPR

Only about a third of Sudden Cardiac Arrest victims receive bystander CPR, and public access Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are used less than 3% of the time when needed and available.
Without oxygen-rich blood, permanent brain damage or death can occur in less than 8 minutes, after 10 minutes there is little chance of successful resuscitation.
Delivery of CPR is life-saving first aid, and can sustain life until paramedics arrive by helping to maintain vital blood flow to the heart and brain.
The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that effective and minimally interrupted bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.
AHA encourages bystanders to use compression-only CPR as an alternative to the combined rescue breathing and chest compression method. It is believed that this change will significantly increase the willingness of bystanders to perform CPR.

Good Samaritan Law

The purpose of the Good Samaritan Law is to protect individuals who are not medically trained and choose to assist a victim who is injured or ill. The law protects the Good Samaritan from being liable from injury or death caused to the victim during a medical emergency. A general layperson is protected under the Good Samaritan laws as long as he or she has good intentions to aid the victim to the best of his or her ability during a medical emergency. These laws are intended to reduce bystanders’ hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death. "...1799.102. No person who in good faith, and not for compensation, renders emergency care at the scene of an emergency shall be liable for any civil damages resulting from any act or omission. The scene of an emergency shall not include emergency departments and other places where medical care is usually offered..."



  1.  burden of chronic disease and injury. California 2013 Caroline Peck, MD, MPH, FACOG. Julia Logan, MD, MPH., Nell Malzlish, PhD, Jason Van Court, MPH
  2.  AS, Mozaffarian D, Roger VL, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics--2014 update: A report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. Published online December 18, 2013.
  3. http://www.sca-aware.org/about-sca
  4. Statistical Update Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2014 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association Alan S. Go, Dariush Mozaffarian, Véronique L. Roger, Emelia J. Benjamin, Jarett D. Berry, Michael J. Blaha, Shifan Dai, Earl S. Ford, Caroline S. Fox, Sheila Franco, Heather J. Fullerton, Cathleen Gillespie, Susan M. Hailpern, John A. Heit, Virginia J. Howard, Mark D. Huffman, Suzanne E. Judd, Brett M. Kissela, Steven J. Kittner, Daniel T. Lackland, Judith H. Lichtman, Lynda D. Lisabeth, Rachel H. Mackey, David J. Magid, Gregory M. Marcus, Ariane Marelli, David B. Matchar, Darren K. McGuire, Emile R. Mohler III, Claudia S. Moy, Michael E. Mussolino, Robert W. Neumar, Graham Nichol, Dilip K. Pandey, Nina P. Paynter, Matthew J. Reeves, Paul D. Sorlie, Joel Stein, Amytis Towfighi, Tanya N. Turan, Salim S. Virani, Nathan D. Wong, Daniel Woo, and Melanie B. Turner