Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue just announced a cutting-edge program to save lives. They’re the first fire department in the world to start taking home Automated External Defibrillators on their days off.
TVF&R already has one of the highest survival rates in the country for patients who have cardiac arrest or heart attacks.
Now, Philips, the maker of small, portable AED devices, or defibrillators, have donated 375 of them to TVF&R as part of a study to get those "save" rates up even higher.
So far, 200 of their firefighters have volunteered to put the AEDs in their personal cars to use when they’re off duty. More can volunteer throughout the program.
The program will work using the Pulse Point app on their smart phones. When a 911 call comes in, and if the off-duty firefighter is nearby, they'll get an alert someone's in trouble and needs CPR.
But the firefighters are verified in a special version of Pulse Point as first responders and will be able to go into private homes to help people. The public version of Pulse Point only will alert normal citizens to 911 calls in a public area.
The AEDs can help shock people back into normal heart rhythm and save their life before an ambulance or fire truck gets there.
Firefighter Scott Brawner has already responded to three emergencies in his off time using Pulse Point, and saved a man’s life at at 24-Hour Fitness gym. The man was in full cardiac arrest.
“It could mean the difference between life and death for somebody,” Brawner said. “I'm really looking forward to it. It's the biggest technology change I’ve seen in my career which spans 37 years, it's cutting edge.”
This is all part of a two-year study about response times and cardiac arrest. Other fire departments are watching, and will probably join in down the road as well.