SPRINGFIELD, Mo. In 2015, approximately 357-thousand people experienced out-of hospital cardiac arrest in the United States.
Most of those victims die before reaching the hospital.
Now, Springfield is using new technology that might make the difference between life and death.
Gretchen Cliburn was running a half marathon when she went into cardiac arrest four years ago.
"The next thing she heard was the sound of my body hitting the pavement," she said referring to her running partner.
Other runners cared for her until paramedics arrived.
"They were looking at each other and saying there's no way she's going to make it," said Cliburn.
She was lucky to survive.
She asked, "What if this had happen if I was not in a public place and not around people who knew CPR?"
A free smart phone app now available locally can make the difference.
Pulse Point Respond is tied to Greene County's 911 center. The app will activate as soon as a call for help is made. It alerts users, who are signed up, and CPR trained to the location of the person under cardiac arrest, enabling them to render aid.
"We know that that early CPR, early defibrillation is the key to survival. If we can get that done no matter if it's a bystander or first responder, it doesn't matter as long as it happens, that's what we're worried about," said EMS Director for Mercy Hospitals, Bob Patterson.
He explained that this system isn't meant to replace first responders, just provide help until medical professionals arrive.
"It's better to be prepared and not have that guilt should have done something when you could have," he said.
Cliburn now has an internal defibrillator but is still cautious.
"I have been nervous about it happening again. I don't run anymore. I do exercise. I do try to exercise regularly but I try not to get my heart rate up too high and potentially have that happen again even thought I know we now have better resources to respond," she said.
She hopes that everyone will take the opportunity to take advantage of this technology.
"I think just the comfort of knowing that that immediate reaction is going to have a much better turnout for most of our loved ones. We can all have a chance to save the life of one of our community members," she said.
The app also maps out where AEDs or defibrillators are throughout the city if users register their locations.
Springfield Fire Department is holding free CPR classes.
The schedule is as follows:
Saturday, October 6 at station #12, 2455 S. Blackman Road from 9 am to 10 am.
Monday, October 15 at station #1, 720 E. Grand from 2 pm to 3pm.
Thursday, October 18 at station #8, 1405 S. Scenic from 6pm to 7pm.
Saturday, October 27 at station #5, West Kearney from 11 am to noon.
Visit springfieldlifesave.org or call SFD headquarters at 417-874-2300.