Health

NSW Ambulance adopts mobile emergency alert app to empower community response

NSW Ambulance is promoting community emergency response by equipping volunteer responders with a mobile emergency alert and dispatch app developed in the United Kingdom. 

Called GoodSAM (Good Smartphone Activated Medics), the free app alerts a responder to nearby individuals – within 1,000 metres – in cardiac arrest. This allows them to provide CPR or use an AED before paramedics arrive. 

The emergency service signed a A$2.5 million ($1.5 million) partnership for four years with GoodSAM to integrate the app with ambulance dispatch and a public registry for mapping nearby defibrillators. The said registry will allow the community to log the location of defibrillators that could then be accessed by a responder. 

According to a media release, registrations for volunteer responders will begin in a phased approach over the coming months.

WHY IT MATTERS

Last year, NSW Ambulance attended to over 10,000 cardiac arrests, many of which did not get defibrillation or CPR from people close by prior to the arrival of paramedics. 

“When someone is in cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR or defibrillation decreases their chance of survival by 10%,” said Clare Beech, executive director of Clinical Systems and senior assistant commissioner of NSW Ambulance.

While the emergency service will always send the closest available paramedic in an emergency, the GoodSAM app will “allow for rapid intervention by the community, which could save your life,” the commissioner added.

The GoodSAM app has been used by many emergency services worldwide, including New Zealand organisations like charitable ambulance service St. John, Wellington Free Ambulance, and the National Cardiac Network.

THE LARGER TREND

NSW Ambulance recently received over A$55 million ($38 million) worth of new technology and equipment from the state government to enhance their provision of cardiac care. The package includes a cardiac notification platform that improves ambulance-to-hospital communications.

Last year, the service awarded telecommunications carrier Vertel a contract to upgrade its Far West Project 25 radio network to cover more areas and improve critical communications operations. The provider has placed GPS tracking and duress button for paramedics on all ambulances. One channel has also been set up to ensure paramedics remain on the right channel. 

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