Pulse Point saves a life in Kennett Square

Longwood Fire Company Lieutenant Bas de Vries

KENNETT SQUARE — During the evening of November 7 in the heart of downtown Kennett Square a man endured a frightening experience. He found a friend in her car; she looked like she was dead.

The man immediately called 911, the first step in the “Chain of Survival” that triggered a complex series of notifications. According to the American Heart Association, the first link, early recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system, is the responsibility of “lay rescuers.” The second link is immediate high-quality CPR.

Chester County EMS units are well prepared for such emergencies. In 2018 Chester County Department of Emergency Services worked with the Chester County Commissioners and purchased PulsePoint for the county. PulsePoint is linked to the county’s 911 system and monitors emergency calls throughout the county, watching for cardiac arrest dispatches. When someone needs CPR those who have the application on their phone are alerted that CPR is needed close by their location.

“When trained people provide CPR before the ambulance arrives the patient has a better outcome,” said Matthew Eick, Paramedic/Captain of Longwood Fire Company.

On the evening of November 7 the system worked exactly how it was intended. Before the Basic Life Support Ambulance from Kennett Fire Company and Paramedics from Longwood Fire Company were even dispatched to the call, help was on the way. At the Kennett Inn, near the incident, two firefighters with CPR training from Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company were getting ready to eat dinner. When they realized there was an emergency just a couple blocks away, they rushed to assist.

“They would not have known there was a cardiac arrest nearby had it not been for the PulsePoint App,” Eick said. Longwood Fire Company Lieutenant Bas de Vries, who lives on the same block as the emergency, received the alert and answered the call for action.

“I got the alert before getting a dispatch text. When I realized it was right outside I knew I could help,” said de Vries, who arrived as the Kennett Square Police were pulling onto the scene. The woman was immediately removed from the car and CPR along with other lifesaving efforts began. The friend told the police that she may have used heroin and Narcan was immediately administered.

Fortunately, this patient did not become another statistic of the Opioid crisis thanks to the Pulsepoint notification system in place in Chester County. She received immediate assistance thanks to off-duty firefighters. Kennett Fire Company arrived one minute before the Longwood Paramedics and the subject was already starting to breath on her own. Her care continued and she was taken to the hospital for ongoing treatment. She is expected to have a positive outcome.

For more information on PulsePoint visit www.pulsepoint.org. If you are trained in CPR look for the Pulsepoint Respond and Pulsepoint AED apps which are available for IPhones and Androids.

CPR training is available through the American Heart Association at Longwood Fire Company on the third Wednesday of every month at 6:00 p.m. To register, call the station (610) 388-6880 or email EMS@longwoodfireco.com.

Longwood Fire Company serves the communities of Kennett Square Borough, Kennett, East Marlborough, Pennsbury, Newlin and Pocopson townships. Longwood Fire Company provides fire, rescue and emergency medical services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information see www.longwoodfireco.com.

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