RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths, and the Richmond Department of Emergency Communications is encouraging people to preclude these medical emergencies through the PulsePoint app.

Karen L. Gill, the public information officer for the department, said the app notifies public users of sudden cardiac arrest going on in the area so that people nearby can provide extra assistance while emergency services are responding.

“Anyone can use this app to be a superhero,” Gill said. “You can save someone’s life with this free app.”

She said even though dispatchers try to respond as fast as possible to someone who calls and has an emergency, help from someone who is close by could save critical time and possibly a life.

Gill said that when someone having an emergency calls 911, the call taker gets the location of the emergency and type of emergency so they can alert dispatchers to send emergency services while the call taker stays on the phone and tries to get more information.

She said people with the PulsePoint app are automatically notified if there is a sudden cardiac arrest close to where they are. There is also a PulsePoint AED app that is used to register the location of AED devices. The PulsePoint Respond app is then able to tell people where the closest AED machines are.

“That way, you can get help to them, you can help give them CPR,” Gill said.

She said the average total response time from when the call is picked up by the call taker to when the dispatcher alerts emergency services is 23 seconds. That includes the call taker finding out the location and type of emergency before alerting the dispatcher.

“Seconds count in an emergency, especially in a sudden cardiac arrest,” Gill said.

She said people having an emergency have the option to either call or text 911 to get emergency services dispatched.

“It’s the job of first responders and 911 to help people and to keep the city of Richmond safe, but the citizens play a big role in doing that too,” Gill said. “They can really cut down on the amount of time that it takes to get help to someone who needs it in a sudden cardiac arrest.”

She said you don’t need to know CPR to download the AED app, but people who do are encouraged to download and use the PulsePoint Respond app.

Gill said that after the call taker finds out the location of the emergency and alerts dispatchers to send emergency services, the call taker asks the caller for more details about the incident. This helps solve crimes and find out more information to help the caller. Emergency services, like police and fire, are updated with this information while on their way to respond to the emergency.

She said the Department of Emergency Communications dispatches fire and police, but the Richmond Ambulance Authority dispatch medical services.

“Whether you want to download the PulsePoint Respond app or the PulsePoint AED app, we would really encourage you to download those and help us save lives in Richmond,” Gill said.