At a press conference, today, March 16, The City of San Francisco became the first major city to publicly announce support for the San Ramon Valley Fire Protect District-pioneered “Fire Department” iPhone application.
In a media release the San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White announced the SF Fire App Initiative, an extensive citywide effort to reduce heart attack deaths with the implementation of the Fire Department smart phone application which will notify CPR-trained volunteers to assist nearby cardiac arrest victims.
Earlier this year, San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District Chief Richard Price launched the Fire Department iPhone application that links to the SRVFPD computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system to notify CPR-trained volunteers in the vicinity of sudden cardiac arrest events in public spaces and to pinpoint the nearest automatic external defibrillator (AED). Price and his team are forming a foundation to extend the app to other smart phone platforms and provide support to other municipalities seeking to implement the technology.
“When I first learned of the great work by Chief Price and his team, I knew we needed to do everything we could to bring this application and its life-saving benefits to San Francisco,” said Herrera. “The kind of partnership we are building within city departments shows that even in challenging budget times, smart governments and engaged citizens can increase benefits to the community. Just as the state of California has been proactive to ensure that Good Samaritans are protected from civil liability when they assist in times of great need, I’m committed to ensuring that San Francisco is a place where all of us are confident to help each other. I am grateful to have the partnership and support from San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White on this initiative.”
Herrera also announced the launch of a new website, http://www.sffireapp.org, where interested San Franciscans can get information about CPR trainings and volunteer to assist with the initiative. Because the response in the first minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest are critical, the goal for the development launch is to increase the number of local volunteers with CPR training, to increase implementation and awareness of AEDs, and to work with Department of Emergency Management, Fire Department, and the local technology community to deliver the application to San Franciscans as soon as possible.
Bystander CPR and defibrillation combined are the most effective response to a person suffering from sudden cardiac arrest, and can greatly increase the likelihood of the victim’s survival rate. In 2010, the San Francisco Fire Department responded to 356 active cardiac arrest incidents and 39 patients survived to admittance to the hospital. One third of these incidents occurred in a public space, away from home.
“The San Francisco Fire Department is committed to spreading the word that bystander CPR is critical to increasing the odds of survival of a cardiac arrest event,” said Chief Hayes-White. “In San Francisco, compared to other large cities, bystander CPR is initiated too infrequently. Our hope is that this initiative will provide our residents with the support they need to get trained in CPR and to get involved.”
In San Francisco, civic developers including representatives of Granicus and Firmstep have already volunteered to support development of the application and public access to AED maps.
“This app showcases the real power of mobile, real-time data delivery to connect people and save lives,” said Javier Muniz, CTO and co-founder of Granicus. “We’re excited to support the City & County of San Francisco and the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District in whatever way we can to scale this app and empower citizens.”