PulsePoint and CPR training: saving lives in Oshawa and beyond


Published June 26, 2023 at 8:33 am

With more than a thousand people in Canada and the USA suffering cardiac arrest every day, knowledge of CPR can save lives.

Coupled with access to a 911-connected mobile app that alerts emergency personnel – and trained app users in the vicinity – of someone having a heart attack or otherwise in need of immediate medical attention, and even more lives can be saved.

On Thursday PulsePoint – a San Francisco Bay-area non-profit foundation that developed the app – got together with local partners Durham College, Ontario Tech, Lakeridge Health, the Durham Region Critical Incident Stress Support Team and the City of Oshawa to train 87 local residents in life-saving skills at CPR clinics. Participants gained hands-on CPR experience and learned how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator) from certified instructors.

The trainings were designed to encourage participants to download the free PulsePoint apps to put their training to use and to empower more people to feel comfortable helping in case of an emergency, said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter.

“The health and well-being of the Oshawa community is always our top priority, and after today’s trainings I hope the participants will feel comfortable downloading PulsePoint and lending a hand in an emergency situation,” he said. “Thank you to the Oshawa PulsePoint partners (and) GM Canada and OnStar for providing this opportunity; seconds count in the event of cardiac arrest and the PulsePoint Respond app is helping save lives.”

As even the fastest-dispatched EMS and fire agencies can take precious minutes to arrive, PulsePoint recruits CPR-trained volunteers to step in when they are closer to the scene, using one of two PulsePoint apps on their smart phones.

  • PulsePoint Respond, which advises when someone in a nearby public place requires CPR and provides information on where to find the closest public AED; and,
  • PulsePoint AED, which displays a region-wide registry of AEDs and co-located resources such as bleeding control kits, naloxone and epinephrine.


The goal is to increase the possibility that a victim in cardiac arrest will receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) quickly, said Dr. Randy Wax, Chief of Staff and Critical Care Physician, Lakeridge Health. “Today’s event speaks to the power of partnerships. Collaborating to empower people with education and training that can potentially save lives impacts the health of the community overall.”

“I’m so proud of our collective efforts.”

Sandra Mackey, Chair of Durham Region Critical Incident Stress Support Team, echoed Wax’s comments. “There is power in our Community! By assisting First Responders, trained volunteers can help make the difference when seconds count and help save more lives from sudden cardiac arrest.”

The apps are available for download within the Oshawa Fire dispatch area (which also includes Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge) and as of May, more than 1,400 people have done so. The apps are available for download on iTunes and Google Play.

Oshawa’s post-secondary partners were happy to be involved in the venture.

“At Durham College, we care about the health and well-being of our campus and broader community and we are committed to providing teaching and learning opportunities that support that,” said Durham College President Don Lovisa. “As a leader in technology-enhanced solutions, we are proud to join the PulsePoint partners on this initiative to offer life-saving CPR technology.”

“The PulsePoint initiative demonstrates the positive effect that collaborations between post-secondary institutions, government and community bring to our society,” added Ontario Tech President Dr. Steven Murphy. “This app will help save lives, and the success of this program aligns with Ontario Tech’s mission to improve the lives of others through the ethical application of technology.”

The program spread across the USA quickly – by January 2020, 35,000 volunteers had already responded to more than 100,000 cardiac arrests – before it was brought to Canada in 2015, with Kingston the first Canadian city to sign on. The program, with the help of a $35,000 contribution from GM Canada and OnStar, launched in Oshawa last fall.

“We are proud to support PulsePoint’s purpose to create a heart safe community and a community that rallies together to help a neighbour in need of lifesaving support,” said James Nava, Director of OnStar and CX Canada.

For more information on PulsePoint in Oshawa, visit Oshawa.ca/PulsePoint. For details on the PulsePoint program, visit pulsepoint.org.



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