New York, Feb 2012 --
The EMS Safety Foundation today announced the winners of its inaugural iRescU Scavenger Hunt Challenges for geolocating Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in the community. iRescU is a new public education and information initiative under development to help save lives using crowd sourcing, cloud-based technology, and smartphones to geolocate AEDs and update one's CPR skills. The iRescU app will available free on smartphones on all platforms in the near future.
The iRescU app project was developed through collaboration of a global interdisciplinary team, led by Nadine Levick, MD, MPH, of the EMS Safety Foundation.
iRescU’s first AED Scavenger Hunt Challenge was launched during the 2011 American Heart Association Conference in November. The first place winner was Linda Cotter-Forbes of Rhinebeck, NY, who geolocated 37 AEDs. Linda is the mother of Kaitlin Forbes, a survivor who was saved at Rhinebeck, NY, High School in 2005, thanks to her school's foresight and preparation. (Kaitlin's story is featured in the SCA Foundation's You Can Save a Life at School publication, which may be downloaded here.) This set a new world record for any one-person effort geolocating AEDs during a brief (four day) AED scavenger hunt.
Runners up were Linda Dickson, Connie Carmany, Wendy Long, John Brown, and Philip McGovern.
iRescU’s second Challenge was launched during the mHealth Summit in November. Linda encouraged her colleagues, and 81 AEDs were geolocated by Kim, also of Rhinebeck, NY, who became the first place winner. The second place winner, Brittany Bogle, a graduate student attending college in Chicago, single-handedly located 68 AEDs all over the country.
“As impressive as this record breaking effort might be, it is but a drop in the ocean, compared to the exponential increase in the power of iRescU, with collaborations involving organizations such as Foursquare," says Dr. Levick, who is currently exploring such relationships and opportunities to expand the reach and impact of this lifesaving iRescU technology tool.
For Linda Cotter-Forbes, the iRescU Challenge has special meaning. “If it weren’t for quickly locating an AED in 2005 when my daughter Kaitlin dropped unconscious at the age of 15 from sudden cardiac arrest while playing softball, she wouldn’t be here today”, she said. "Her high school was prepared and their quick response with CPR and using an AED saved her life.” Kaitlin continues to live an active life and has resumed her passion--playing team softball.
Of the estimated 350,000 people who experience out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year in the United States, only 8% survive. That is about 1,000 deaths each day,” says Dr. Nadine Levick. “SCA affects people of all ages, school children to the elderly,” she said. “These deaths happen suddenly, without warning--in the home, on the street, at school, in the gym or at work. Studies show that about 80% of SCA victims have a ‘shockable’ heart rhythm,” she said. “This means that a person could return to a normal quality of life if a bystander immediately responds to the victim, performs CPR, and delivers a shock to the heart with an AED within three minutes of a victim suffering cardiac arrest and becoming unconscious.”
One of the obstacles to AED use is the lack of public awareness. “Everyone needs to know what an AED is, how it is used and where to locate one when you need it," according to Dr. Levick. She began tackling these issues as a public health crisis in March 2010 when working on an EMS study using smartphones. “It occurred to me – ‘why not use smartphone technology to coach CPR and geolocate AEDs through crowd sourcing, and have the information propagate into a global cloud based database?’ Under the umbrella of the EMS Safety Foundation, she began working on this effort, building a global development team, for the iRescU Project. “My priorities were to create an innovative tool, accessible by smartphone, free to the public, to fill the gaps in the chain of survival where nothing else existed. The goal of iRescU is to save victims of sudden cardiac arrest.”
Phase 1 and 2 proof of concept for iRescU has been completed. Next, It will be pilot tested in five major cities in the U.S., including New York City.
iRescU was selected for presentation at the prestigious mHealth Summit Tech Demo Pavilion in November 2010, and at the Emergency Cardiac Care Update conference December 2010. Research on iRescU presented at the American Heart Association ReSS Symposium in November 2011 and at the mHealth Summit in December 2011. It was at these recent 2011 events that iRescU launched its inaugural AED Scavenger Hunt Challenges to geolocate AEDs using crowd-sourcing, across the nation and also internationally.
The winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony at the New York Athletic Club on Valentine's Day. Mayor Bloomberg has been invited. Mary Newman, of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, who is a member of the iRescU team, will present an AED to Cotter-Forbes, for her first place win in the inaugural iRescU scavenger hunt. The AED was donated to the SCA Foundation by Cardiac Science. Kaitlin was saved with a Cardiac Science AED.
Dr. Levick was a recent presenter at the mHealth Summit 2011 held December 2011 on iRescU: Bridging Social Media and Saving Lives - Logistics and Implementation of a Two-way
Global Cloud Based Life Saving Platform in the Real World.
Dr. Levick received her MBBS (Honours) Melbourne University, Melbourne Australia, December 1983 - Australian Medical Degree (USA MD
For information about The EMS Safety Foundation, go to EMS Safety Foundation
and to Objective Safety.
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