New app allows the public to follow, assist emergency services

By Paul Thompson
Northeast News – August 24, 2017

A new phone app allows the general public the feel the pulse of the City unlike ever before.

The free PulsePoint app was officially introduced to the general public by the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) on Wednesday, August 23, but it received an early shout-out on August 21 from Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department Chief Paul Berardi.

“Now responding to 11th and Spruce on high water,” Berardi tweeted as torrential downpour caused chaos throughout the city. “So you want to keep track of all @KCMOFireDept responses? Download @pulsepoint app.”

Indeed, at the time of Berardi’s tweet the PulsePoint app was already hard at work, relaying a perpetually updating timeline of KCFD’s emergency responses throughout the metropolitan area. In additional to the scroll of emergency service responses, the app also features an interactive map that shows pins of all the responses throughout the city.

The mobile app was initially designed by a firefighter in California as a way to connect individuals with hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training to those in a nearby public place suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. Once users with CPR training sign up for the app, they’ll receive an automatic alert at the same time first responders are dispatched to the scene of the emergency.

“Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, affecting more than 350,000 people each year,” said Chief John Paul Jones of the Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department. “This cutting-edge technology can save lives by alerting people who can start CPR before an ambulance arrives. With sudden cardiac arrest, seconds count.”

According to the press release issued by MARC, the technology was brought to three Kansas City area agencies (KCFD; Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department; and the Johnson County Emergency Communications Center) thanks in part to the Heart of America Metro Fire Chiefs’ Council and Mid-America Regional Council Emergency Rescue (MARCER) committee.

Between the three agencies, more than 1.3 million people – including those from Raytown, Grandview, Claycomo and Wyandotte County – now have access to private citizens with CPR training through the PulsePoint app.

“This is the largest regional effort to simultaneously implement PulsePoint in the nation,” said Richard Carrizzo, president of Heart of America Fire Chiefs, and the Fire Chief for the Southern Platte Fire Protection District.

According to the American Heart Association, instantaneous hands-only CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival after cardiac arrest, though the organization estimates that only 46% of sufferers received CPR from a bystander in 2016.

“When sudden cardiac arrest strikes, each minute without CPR reduces the chance of survival by 7-10 percent, so early bystander CPR and rapid defibrillation from an AED can be crucial,” said Berardi. “I encourage every resident who has CPR training to download the app and support our region’s first responders in saving lives.”

Eric Winebrenner, the Public Safety Communications Director at MARC, said that the strong relationship between agencies throughout the region has helped make Kansas City’s rollout of PulsePoint especially successful.

“With MARC’s help, the region does a great job of communicating with each other,” Winebrenner said. “What I’m told is that this doesn’t happen a lot in other communities.”

As evidenced by the Berardi’s tweet during Monday’s rainstorm, some of the ancillary benefits of the PulsePoint mobile app are already paying dividends.

“It’s transparency – there aren’t a lot of secrets,” Winebrenner said. “You can see exactly what they’re doing. They’re busy – there’s the proof.”

PulsePoint is available through the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, and is currently active in more than 2,500 cities throughout the nation. For more information, visit or


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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