When someone experiences a full cardiac arrest, chest compressions must be started within four minutes to give the victim a good chance at survival. More often than not, EMTs, firefighters, and even police officers cannot respond to a cardiac arrest that quickly.
“There needs to be intervention in the first four minutes, but that’s just not logistically possible,” Nancy Capelle, a volunteer EMT and cardiac arrest survivor herself, told the Board of Selectmen Monday night, April 6.
With this in mind, Ms. Capelle is spearheading an effort to quicken Wilton’s response to cardiac emergencies through a smartphone application called PulsePoint.
PulsePoint ties into the town’s emergency response system and sends an alert out to those residents who have downloaded the application anytime a cardiac arrest is reported within a quarter-mile of their location.
The notification tells the resident where the cardiac arrest has occurred, giving the person the chance to arrive and begin chest compressions before the important four-minute deadline.
Since the beginning of 2015, Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps has responded to 279 calls for help, of which 38 — or 13% — were at public places or local businesses where a PulsePoint notification might be effective.
It could also work in a residential area where a next-door neighbor may be CPR-certified and able to respond more quickly than a first responder.
In a resolution passed Monday, the selectmen said they “support the concept that going forward we want to investigate the PulsePoint app. And we look forward to [Ms. Capelle] returning to us with a progress report on what we can do to investigate bringing that to our community.”
Installing the application within the town’s systems would cost $10,000, and the program would cost $8,000 a year to maintain, Ms. Capelle said.
She said she will continue to “fully vet” the pricing structure of the PulsePoint system, and return to the board when she has more solid numbers.