By Lyndsie Kiebert
Bonner County Emergency Management Services is pursuing grant funding for a mobile phone alert system designed to speed CPR-certified citizens to the scene of nearby emergencies while first responders are en route.
BCEMS Chief Jeff Lindsey presented the project — called Pulse Point — Aug. 20 at the county commissioners’ regular Tuesday business meeting.
Lindsey said the system is the brainchild of BCEMS Medical Director Ronald Jenkins. People with certified CPR training can sign up through BCEMS to receive an alert on their cellphone if someone nearby is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. They will also be notified where they can find the nearest automated external defibrillator.
BCEMS is pursuing funding for the system — about $58,000 — through the BNSF Railway Foundation.
Bonner County commissioners also approved a letter of support for the program to BNSF on Aug. 20.
“The ambulance might be five, 10 minutes away,” said Commissioner Steve Bradshaw. “If you’re two aisles over at Walmart and somebody has a heart attack, you don’t know unless your phone gives you an alert. You get there five, 10 minutes before the ambulance does — that makes a big difference.”
Lindsey said the grant will also support new digital monitors for 911 dispatch, as well as more AEDs to distribute throughout the county.
BCEMS will now wait to hear whether it has received the grant funding. The BNSF Foundation’s decision process can take anywhere from three months to a year, according to the foundation’s website.
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