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Springfield Fire Department News Releases

Posted on: February 22, 2019

Nearly 1,000 have downloaded lifesaving PulsePoint app since September

PulsePoint empowers CPR-trained citizens to provide critical response to cardiac arrests 


Gretchen Cliburn, a director at BKD Wealth Advisors and runner from Springfield, says she got a second chance at life in 2014, thanks to CPR-trained bystanders willing to help when she collapsed during a race.

“It was a gorgeous day,” she remembers. “My friend and running partner Kathryn and I were well-ahead of schedule and enjoying the run. There was nothing out of the ordinary.”

Cliburn says the last thing she remembers from that April morning is crossing mile marker 9 of the half marathon and remarking to her friend that she thought they’d have a strong finish in the race.

“Apparently I then told Kathryn that we needed to slow down a little,” Cliburn said. “The next thing she heard was the sound of my body hitting the pavement.”

Cliburn, who had no history of heart disease, had suffered a cardiac arrest and did not have a pulse. Two other runners, to whom she refers as “angels,” began performing CPR and called 911. They continued until paramedics arrived, defibrillated her heart into beating again and transported her to a Springfield hospital, where she was placed in a medically induced coma and underwent advanced cardiac procedures. Her prognosis ranged anywhere from never waking up from the coma to making a full recovery.

“I was extremely fortunate that day because of the people who were there with me who performed CPR and kept going until EMS got there,” Cliburn said.

The Springfield Fire Department hopes that Cliburn’s story and the many others like it will encourage anyone with a smartphone to get trained in CPR and download the PulsePoint app.

Last fall, the Fire Department and local emergency services personnel partnered to launch PulsePoint in the 17-county region served by Mercy and CoxHealth. The app alerts CPR-trained citizens of cardiac events in their vicinity so they may administer aid. The app also notifies users of the closest available automated external defibrillator (AED). Since the technology became available in the Ozarks last September, nearly 1,000 people trained in CPR have downloaded the app. PulsePoint is another component of the Springfield LifeSave initiative started by the Fire Department to improve survival rates of those experiencing cardiac arrest.

Funding and operational partners include:

  • CoxHealth
  • Mercy
  • City of Springfield
  • Missouri State University
  • Ozarks Technical Community College
  • Drury University
  • Evangel University
  • City Utilities and
  • Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Early application of bystander CPR and rapid defibrillation with an AED have proven to be crucial in improving a person’s chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest. PulsePoint is not limited to emergency responders or those with official CPR certification, as it can be used by anyone who has been trained in CPR.

“When a patient is in cardiac distress, the quicker they receive help, the greater chance they have for a complete recovery,” says Dr. Stephen Kuehn, interventional cardiologist with CoxHealth. “This technology is a wonderful tool to have in place, and I’m excited for what it means for patients throughout southwest Missouri.”

How it works

After downloading the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play by searching for “PulsePoint,” those trained in CPR and wishing to assist in case of an emergency can be notified of a cardiac emergency nearby that may require CPR. If the cardiac emergency is in a public place, the location-aware application will alert trained citizens in the vicinity of the need for bystander CPR at the same time first responders are dispatched. The application also directs these citizen rescuers to the exact location of the closest publicly accessible automated external defibrillator (AED). Note: User notification only occurs after the 9-1-1 system has been activated.

“PulsePoint is a powerful tool to increase survival rates of cardiac arrest  in our community,” said Fire Chief David Pennington. “In addition to the lifesaving CPR notifications, the application provides a complete virtual window into the emergency communication center.”

For professional responders, Pennington says PulsePoint can improve situational awareness, increase incident and resource visibility, and enhance overall interoperability with neighboring jurisdictions.

Nearly five years after her cardiac arrest, Cliburn says she still encourages everyone she knows to get trained in CPR, and now that it’s available in the Ozarks, to download the PulsePoint app.

“You could be that person who gives someone in our community a second chance at life,” she said.


For more information please contact Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 or [email protected] or Fire Chief David Pennington at 417-874-2310 or [email protected].

Pictured: a map of those in Springfield who have trained in CPR and registered with the PulsePoint app to respond to a cardiac emergency nearby.

SpringfieldMO ResponderMap

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