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St. Louis Park is getting a heart attack app, it finds nearby CPR-trained volunteers

Sometimes a trained volunteer can get there quicker than an ambulance.

A Twin Cities community is taking an extra step in protecting its residents from heart attacks.

St. Louis Park's newest lifesaving resource comes in the form of a mobile app. It's called PulsePoint.

As the fire department's Deputy Chief John Wolff told WCCO, it's basically "Uber for CPR."

People who've been trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can download the app and sign up as a volunteer. Then if someone in the area calls 911 about a heart attack or related emergency, an alert will go out to nearby volunteers.

The idea is that sometimes a trained individual might be able to get there quicker than an ambulance. As this PulsePoint video shows, a few minutes can make all the difference in whether a person survives or dies. It says that for every minute a heart attack victim goes without assistance, their chance of survival decreases by 10 percent.

To get ready for the new program, which begins Tuesday at 8 p.m., a local food shelf and social service agency called the St. Louis Park Emergency Program has installed an AED (automatic external defibrillator). It's a device that can be used to shock a person's heart into beating again. Staff members there are undergoing CPR and AED training.

St. Louis Park residents who'd like CPR training or a refresher course should contact the fire department's community outreach coordinator at nschmelzle@stlouispark.org or 952-300-1413.

The PulsePoint app will be formally introduced Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the St. Louis Park Fire Department Station.

Where else is PulsePoint?

You can find a map of all the places PulsePoint covers here.

Right now, there aren't a lot of places in Minnesota. It's available in the Winona area and Moorhead. It's also in Fargo, Sioux Falls, La Crosse, and several other cities in Wisconsin.

According to the state Department of Health, heart disease is the second-leading cause of death in Minnesota. It's only behind cancer.

In 2014, almost 4 percent of Minnesota adults reported having had a heart attack in their lifetime. That's more than 150,000 people.

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