F.F.D. Doesn’t Want Your Finger on the Pulse

Or Perhaps They’re Just Missing the Point of PulsePoint

Allow me to introduce you to PulsePoint.

When life is on the line every second matters. PulsePoint is designed to allow people with C.P.R. training to respond to emergencies. It’s brilliant.

According to their own website:

Through the use of modern, location-aware mobile devices PulsePoint is building applications that work with local public safety agencies to improve communications with citizens and empower them to help reduce the millions of annual deaths from Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Know C.P.R.? Check a box and it’ll show you calls needing C.P.R. and notify you if you’re near.

Got it? The entire point is to allow people to respond to medical emergencies in a timely manner. The App is literally about saving lives. And I mean literally in the actual sense here.

Why am I writing this?

Because here’s a screenshot of Fullerton Fire Department activity from tonight:

And here’s a screenshot from the Orange County Fire Authority:

Did you catch what’s missing from the F.F.D. data?

Medical Calls. Literally the whole point of the App.

We share data with an App designed to help with medical calls and yet we, as a city, omit medical calls.

This is bureaucratic bureaucracy at it’s best. We’ll participate so long as we don’t have to actually, you know, participate. It’s not like this is about trying to save lives or anything.

16 Replies to “F.F.D. Doesn’t Want Your Finger on the Pulse”

  1. CPR would best be served by a someone close by as time is of the essence. With the small percentage of medical emergencys requiring CPR , there would not be enouph time to notify pulsepoint who would then page a person with CPR training who would then drive to the location to administer CPR. Maybe Fullerton is smart enough to realize the the trouble of interference is not worth the help as the app can only notify of medical emergency with what appears to be limited information that the dispatch gives for location. Anybody that would be truly helpful along these lines wouldn’t be rushing to every medical emergency.

    1. Then why participate at all?

      It’s supposed to alert people in the near vicinity and it’s the same information at the same time that dispatchers are getting.

      So if FFD is in Anaheim or Brea and has too long of a response time it would allow others to be able to help.

      1. I never did understand why the FFD has to deploy a full size fire truck with 6 to 8 tag alongs, prettty much aboard for the ride about town, whenever they go on a medical call to assist an elderly person that has fallen and can’t get back up on their own.

        Seems like the ambulance that’s already there could’ve handled it on their own.

        1. Not only that the whole crew follows the ambulance to the hospital so they can pick up their paramedic who is riding in it.

          A few years back an acquaintance of mine hit the deck in his front yard on Knepp when I was visiting. Four or five trucks and engine compaies showed up and the one from Anaheim go there first!

          In the end the guy refused to go to St. Judes and everybody went away.

  2. I use Pulse Point on a regular basis. The point you miss is that if you are registered as having access to an automatic external defibrillator the app will notify you if you are close enough to make a difference with an AED. And indeed I was notified once. As far as CPR is concerned the 911 dispatcher will instruct callers on how to perform CPR until the paramedics arrive. I am not sure why Fullerton has chosen not to list all their medical aid calls on PulsePoint. The do, in fact, list some of them – usually ones where multiple ambulances have been dispatched.There are a number of other O.C. cities that don’t list all their medical aid calls on PulsePoint, so this may be a policy of NorthNet, which dispatches call for several north OC fire departments.

  3. Here in Fullerton the Fire Department is thinly staffed and relatively poorly funded compared to many departments in the area. We have six engine companies and one truck company serving our city. Three of the six engine companies are four-person “paramedic engines” with two paramedics on board. The other three engine companies are three=person “paramedic assessment engines” with a single paramedic on board. When a medical aid call comes in, the dispatcher will attempt to determine the severity of the situation and dispatch accordingly. If it is determined that advanced life support might be needed, the nearest available unit or units will be dispatched with sufficient personnel to provide advanced life support. Since a minimum of two paramedics are required to provide advanced life support, there will be either a one engine response if a paramedic engine is the closest available. If the paramedic assessment engine is closest available, it will be dispatched along with the nearest paramedic engine to provide the necessary staff for advanced life support.
    It should be noted that all the firefighters staffing the engines are at a minimum trained EMTs. In most cases the EMTs will assist the paramedics with a variety of tasks needed to properly assess and stabilize the patient. They are not just along for the ride.
    Our neighbor to the north Brea has a better funded fire department, and at any given time at least three of their four on-duty companies will have two paramedics on board.
    For what its worth La Habra contracts with L.A. County Fire for their fire and paramedic service. L.A. County uses two-person paramedic squads that are teamed with a three-person engine company. So the usual medical aid call will result in the dispatch of a paramedic squad and a three-person engine company. Once the patient is loaded on the ambulance, the engine company is released and only the squad unit follows the ambulance to the hospital. This is a somewhat more efficient operation.

    1. Thanks for the information.
      “Here in Fullerton the Fire Department is thinly staffed and relatively poorly funded compared to many departments in the area”
      Do you mind sharing the $ figures from Fullerton & other cities?

      1. I don’t have dollar figures, but I can give you some comparative staffing figures. For example, the city of Orange has just about the same population as Fullerton. It’s fire department operates 7 engine companies, 1 quint company, 1 ladder company, and 3 rescue ambulances staffed by firefighters. The City of Pasadena also has just about the same population as Fullerton. It’s fire department operates 8 engine companies, 2 ladder companies, and 5 rescue ambulances all staffed by fire fighters. Our neighbor Brea, with a population of about 40,000 compared to Fullerton’s 140,000 operates 3 engine companies and 1 truck company, two of the engines are 4 person paramedic engines, and the truck company also runs with 2 paramedics on board. The Brea engine in Carbon Canyon is a three-person engine company with one paramedic on board.

    2. Don’t you ever tire of being an apologist for the public employees unions here in Fullerton?

      Same schtick…different subject.

      Ya da ya da ya da.

      Blah blah blah.

      1. I have nothing against firemen. They do have lots of time to sculpt body pumping up iron and to play parlor games at the station but they do a great job when eventually there is a call

        1. I can assure you that the 25 firefighters who are on-duty at any given time do not spend the majority of their time sitting around playing parlor games. The department generally responds to more than 18 calls for service per day. About 90% are calls for medical aid, the remainder are comprised of fires, traffic accidents, hazardous materials spills, gas leaks, wires down and the like. Like all professional fire departments, they have a rigorous training schedule so that they are prepared to handle just about any type of emergency that they are called too. Yes, they do spend some time on physical fitness, but this is a necessity also since the job requires it, and one of the major killers of firefighters is heart attacks. (The other is cancer).
          For full disclosure let me note that my first paid job was as a wildland fire fighter for the U.S. Forest Service, so I fairly familiar with the way fire departments operate. And, I can guarantee you that we didn’t spend a lot time just sitting around.

    3. Shapiro
      Very complex matter. I believe Brea needs to allocate more resources into their fire dept. because of its geography and the higher fire risk from its hills

      1. Brea does have some unique challenges, but Fullerton also does. For example Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College bring an extra 15,000 people into the city on most days and FFD is the agency that serves those two campuses. During periods of high wildland fire danger, almost all vegetation fire calls in Brea bring a mutual aid brush response that includes units from Fullerton and the OCFA, and depending on location also LA County FD.

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