Monday, October 12, 2015

Tips for using PulsePoint

If you've downloaded PulsePoint, good for you. If not, I wish you'd consider doing so. We blew by my initial goal of 1,200 over the weekend and cracked 2,400 followers last night, which is mighty encouraging. There are a couple of features in PulsePoint I want to point out that I think might be of particular interest, completely apart from the CPR-needed-in-public-place alert that is its primary purpose.

The first is the public safety radio feed. Down at the bottom of the list of recent dispatches is a red tab. Tap it, and it slides up to reveal a toggle to turn the radio feed on and off. Its pretty nice, when you see a big event, to toggle on the radio for a few minutes to listen to the transmissions. You can usually figure out quickly whether it's a big deal or not. The feed is actually stereo: fire & rescue on the right, police on the left. If you use earbuds, you'll get the separation. I use a Bluetooth connection to send the audio to my car stereo, which is really slick. The balance control allows me to emphasize and/or mute one or the other if I wish, and the left-right separation actually lets you make sense of both at the same time.

The second feature is the ability to set alerts for other kinds of calls, like structure fires and hazmat incidents. I particularly like the alerts for vehicle accident and expanded vehicle accident. These calls are the injury traffic crashes to which Lincoln Fire & Rescue responds. The expanded collisions are the ones with multiple patients, severity or where the mechanism of injury is more dangerous, such as an overturned vehicle, a car-motorcycle collision, and so forth.

The expanded injury crashes involve several emergency vehicles, unlike your typical fender-bender. Thus, setting an alert for one or both of these accident types will give you advance notice of a potential traffic snarl. These alerts will usually arrive on your phone even before the dispatcher has had the opportunity to speak the words needed to send the first responders. In PulsePoint, go to settings, and you'll see the list of incident types you can choose from for alerts on your phone.

Here's a few more tips to consider:

  • Didn't sign up for CPR alerts because you haven't had training in a while? No problem, the American Heart Association can teach you the basics in 90 seconds. There are other ways to help at a cardiac arrest, too: look for the AED, wait outside to show the paramedics the way, comfort the family, etc..  Don't let the fact that you're not carrying a card in your wallet keep you from being the one.
  • CPR alerts will only be received when the incident is at a public place and you are within a quarter mile. All the other alerts, though, are not tied to your location--you will get those on fires, crashes, hazmat, and so forth regardless of where you are.
  • You can follow other agencies, for example a city to which you are traveling, or your Mom's home town--as long as it is a PulsePoint-connected community.
  • While hands-only CPR is easy, more training is always a good thing. The Red Cross offers lots of opportunities for individuals, and if you're an employer or the team leader, maybe you should sponsor one for everybody!
  • Too many alerts bothering you? I'd suggest picking only CPR and Expanded Vehicle Accident to reduce the volume and still get the ones that are most important. Also, find the "do not disturb" setting on your phone, and select those times of day that you do not want to be buzzed.
  • Do you tweet? If so, the PulsePoint foundation has a twitter feed that republishes all the CPR alerts that are sent out from agencies nationwide, which is rather interesting to see @1000livesaday.
  • If you happen to have an Apple Watch, these notifications will work very well on your wrist.
  • PulsePoint is a smartphone app, but it will run on your iPad. It's a bit tricky to find it in the app store: you'll need to search for PulsePoint (it is NOT the blue Elevon app), then tap the "iPad Only" link at the top left and change to "iPhone only."
  • PulsePoint AED is a companion app for crowdsourcing information about AEDs in the community. The icon looks the same, but is yellow. Information from the public helps us keep the data current, and we appreciate your contribution to the database!


Travis said...

One great tip I found in the menu is "CPR How-To" then select the "Hear Compression Rate". Maybe be a better option for those helping and not wanting to sing a Bee Gees song.

Tyler Mannix said...

As someone who isn't certified to perform CPR and has only watched the "How-To" video provided with the app, what protection, from say getting sued, if any, do civilians have if they are responding to a CPR alert and something goes wrong because of the CPR you have performed on the person and the family blames you for it?

Tyler Mannix said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tom Casady said...

Tyler Mannix,

Nebraska Revised Statute 25-21,186
No person who renders emergency care at the scene of an accident or other emergency gratuitously, shall be held liable for any civil damages as a result of any act or omission by such person in rendering the emergency care or as a result of any act or failure to act to provide or arrange for medical treatment or care for the injured person.

There are very similar laws in other states. In addition, as our medical director Dr. Jason Kruger put it, you're not going to harm anyone in cardiac arrest by performing CPR. There's good research on that point, and think about this for a moment: the alternative is not very promising for the victim.

Tyler Mannix said...

Thank you for your response. I apologize that I did not see the same question asked on the previous page.