PulsePoint Foundation: Saving lives when location matters most

About PulsePoint Foundation

The PulsePoint Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through the use of modern, location-aware mobile devices, PulsePoint builds applications that work with local public safety agencies to improve communications with CPR-trained citizens and empower them to save lives.

Industries: Non-profit
Location: United States

To empower CPR-trained citizens to respond to local emergencies, the PulsePoint Foundation developed a mobile app based on Google Maps Platform to help communities reduce deaths from sudden cardiac arrest.

Google Cloud Results

  • Helps improve cardiac arrest outcomes by bringing CPR-trained citizens quickly to the scene
  • Enables faster CPR and AED activations with a rich set of location APIs
  • Provides development resources, productivity tools, and ad grants free of charge

More than 74K CPR activations to date

When a man collapsed at a Seattle bus stop, an off-duty cardiac nurse was able to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and save his life. Not far away, another man was driving with co-workers when he began gasping for air and lost consciousness due to a heart condition. A local physician happened to be nearby and performed chest compressions until the fire department arrived.

These critical interventions were possible as a result of the PulsePoint Respond mobile app. Based on Google Maps Platform and available for Android and iOS, PulsePoint Respond integrates with local 911 and computer-aided dispatch systems to notify users who have indicated they are trained in CPR and willing to assist if someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency. Location awareness is critical: When an emergency takes place, the app alerts users in the vicinity who may be able to respond faster than emergency services. The app also directs these potential rescuers to the exact location of the closest automated external defibrillator (AED), a portable electronic device that can stabilize heartbeat.

"Google Maps Platform was best-of-breed when we started the Foundation, and it continues to be today. We simply wouldn't have a PulsePoint app without Google technology."

Raul da Silva, CTO, PulsePoint Foundation

Time is critical in these situations. For every minute without some sort of intervention after a cardiac arrest, chances of survival decrease by 10 percent. Brain damage sets in quickly, and after 10 minutes, there is little chance of survival.

"Our mission is to make it much easier for citizens trained in CPR to put their life-saving skills to use," says Richard Price, a former fire chief and President and Founder of the PulsePoint Foundation. "Essentially, we're crowdsourcing Good Samaritans. But the only way our app can be useful is if it's delivered on a mobile platform with rich and reliable location-based services."

Connecting CPR skills with local emergencies

When developing the PulsePoint Respond app, the organization needed a maps-centric solution that could supply accurate, real-time location information when it matters most. It also needed a rich set of APIs that could convert addresses into geographic coordinates and supply information about places, traffic, and routes. After evaluating different mapping and geocoding technologies, PulsePoint decided to use Google Maps Platform including the Maps SDK for Android to add maps based on Google Maps data to its Android app.

"Google Maps Platform was best-of-breed when we started the Foundation, and it continues to be today," says Raul da Silva, CTO of the PulsePoint Foundation. "We simply wouldn't have a PulsePoint app without Google technology. The depth and breadth of Google mapping services is impressive. From Places details that define business types to help determine public places to open-hours that identify AED availability, Google provides a comprehensive Maps API that covers all of our needs."

"Half our agencies pay close to nothing for our solution. We just want to put it in as many hands as possible. We have generous donors and the ability to raise some revenue, but we couldn't do what we do without Google for Nonprofits."

Matthew Stamey, Chairman, PulsePoint Foundation

When PulsePoint is notified of a local emergency, it often receives precise location data through a computer-aided dispatch system. In cases when it does not, it uses the Geocoding API to convert a physical address into a precise geographic location. It then checks the Google Maps Platform Places to determine if the location is public or private. If it's public, PulsePoint Respond sends out alerts to all users in the vicinity, typically within a quarter-mile radius, as determined by the Geolocation API. The Google Maps Platform Routes is then used to provide users the fastest route to the emergency, and the PulsePoint app displays the location of all AEDs within a quarter-mile radius. When the address is private, such as a home, PulsePoint only notifies off-duty professional responders through its Verified Responder program.

"Google Maps SDK for Android has continuously evolved, enabling our development team to add additional value quickly for our users and greatly increase our overall impact," says Jay Schultz, Android Development Lead for the PulsePoint Foundation. "The Maps SDK empowers us to use exact location data in order to accurately pinpoint our closest users, getting them to CPR-needed incidents fast."

An ideal solution for nonprofits

Due to support for its mission from Google for Nonprofits, PulsePoint has free access to Google Maps Platform along with G Suite cloud productivity tools such as Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Hangouts Meet, and Drive. G Suite enables PulsePoint's entirely remote workforce to be more collaborative, productive, and efficient, helping the small foundation make the most of its resources. The Foundation also receives Google Ad Grants to attract donors, raise awareness, and recruit CPR-trained responders.

"Without the generosity of Google, we would not have access to this kind of technology," says Matthew Stamey, Chairman of PulsePoint Foundation. "Half our agencies pay close to nothing for our solution. We just want to put it in as many hands as possible. We have generous donors and the ability to raise some revenue, but we couldn't do what we do without Google for Nonprofits."

"Responding as fast as possible during a cardiac arrest saves lives. Minutes and seconds matter. With Google Maps Platform, we can bring CPR and AEDs to the scene faster, helping reduce the millions of annual deaths from sudden cardiac arrest."

Richard Price, President and Founder, PulsePoint Foundation

Improving cardiac arrest outcomes

PulsePoint is now active in more than 3,400 communities in 41 states and provinces across North America, helping local communities respond faster to citizens in need. Its user base is growing by thousands of users a day, many who come not just for the CPR alert capability, but also to stay informed about what's happening in their community via incident alerts about disasters, traffic accidents, fires, and other emergencies.

With the PulsePoint AED app, PulsePoint is building the nation's most comprehensive registry of AED locations for rapid access. Users report and update AED locations so that emergency responders can find an AED close to them when a cardiac emergency occurs, helping to strengthen the chain of survival for cardiac arrest victims.

"Responding as fast as possible during a cardiac arrest saves lives," says Richard. "Minutes and seconds matter. With Google Maps Platform, we can bring CPR and AEDs to the scene faster, helping reduce the millions of annual deaths from sudden cardiac arrest."

About PulsePoint Foundation

The PulsePoint Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through the use of modern, location-aware mobile devices, PulsePoint builds applications that work with local public safety agencies to improve communications with CPR-trained citizens and empower them to save lives.

Industries: Non-profit
Location: United States