New iPhone app could save lives - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

New iPhone app could save lives

Northern Kentucky University recently announced their partnership with the PulsePoint foundation and a local fire department to bring the nationally acclaimed Fire Department mobile app to NKU. The app was created by NKU students.

This app can alert CPR-certified bystanders to nearby medical emergencies in which they might help. They hoped the technology could help save the lives of people suffering from sudden cardiac arrest.

"The sooner you start CPR on a victim the better their survival rate's going to be," said Erlanger Fire Chief Terry Allen.

Informatics center projects typically require teams to discover new ways of building and doing things. It took 18 months to develop the Fire Department app. They had to be sure it could run in the background of an iPhone without draining the device's battery. Also, a server associated with the app had to handle potentially tens of thousands of downloads. 

Since January, 40,000 civilians have downloaded the app. It's unknown how many lives have been saved.

"The system will know you're within that one thousand yards of that call and it will send to only that phone, it won't send it to you if you're across town, but if you're within the proper will send it to you," said Allen.

The app won a "Most Innovative Use of Technology" award at the 2011 Best of Kentucky Technology Awards in April. The fire district, NKU and several other partners since have launched the PulsePoint Foundation to make the technology available to fire districts around the world. A regional district will announce its plans at the grand opening celebration of Griffin Hall Monday.

Discussions are under way with about 200 others. NKU donated the technology and remains on the foundation's board of directors.

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