Delaware Public Media

New app lets Sussex County residents help first responders

May 18, 2017

More Sussex County residents are embracing the superhero inside them, as many have downloaded a smartphone app that can help save lives.




The app, called “PulsePoint Respond”, uses GPS to alert users someone within a few miles of them has gone into cardiac arrest. They can get to the scene to help, or start CPR if they’re trained, before first responders arrive.


More than 800 Sussex County residents have downloaded the PulsePoint app since officials rolled it out in April. That’s 800 more residents willing to help, said Joe Thomas, the director of the county’s emergency operation center. 


“By increasing those numbers, we’re actually increasing our ability to respond to these events and help someone hopefully survive in that case,” Thomas said.


And Sussex County's land mass - 940 square miles, makes the app essential, Thomas said.


"[It] does present challenges so having people that are willing to provide assistance helps provide potentially lifesaving CPR in a timely manner," Thomas said.


When a resident first opens the app, a prompt will appear asking if they would like to be notified of nearby events where CPR is needed. 


Starting CPR early helps survival, Thomas said. The county has had more than 50 cases of cardiac arrest since January.


“I think at the end of the day, we’re trying to increase our chances of survivability of sudden cardiac arrest,” Thomas said.