The holidays are stressful but nothing is apparently more stressful than Christmas day. That's the day when researchers in the American Heart Association's publication Circulation say there are more deadly heart attacks than any other day of the year, followed by Dec. 26 and Jan. 1. With that in mind, the Illinois Heart and Lung Foundation is pushing area residents to download the free smart phone app Pulse Point.
Kathi Franklin of the Foundation says there were three "saves" from quick use of an AED (automated external defibrillator) in the two weeks leading up to Christmas last holiday season including one woman who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at Target. She was saved and the others also lived to see another year. "All those people are back 100 percent and doing wonderfully because people went into action."
Defibrillators don't work if you can't find them
The Pulse Point app was created by a retired San Francisco firefighter and uses GPS. Franklin encourages app users to contribute when they see a AED. "Let's say you're in the airport and see an AED. Take a picture of it but not up close. Back up to show that it's by a staircase in the back hall ... something that helps someone recognize it as they look for it." She also wants users to upload the photo and include a few more details with it. "Include the name of the place, the address, and if you can give some kind of description, do that too."
State law requires anyone with an AED register it with their area's 911 system. But, some of that information is out of date and Franklin says having defibrillators registered in the app can be helpful to bystanders. The Foundation is serving as a Pulse Point agent and it's covering the cost of the registrations as part of its Operation Revive efforts which has put 116 AEDs throughout the community, including in police squad cars in all but six rural communities.
You can hear the entire interview with Kathi Franklin.