A Columbus North High School senior hopes to save lives by providing locations of automated external defibrillators in Columbus through a mobile application.

Jennifer Gutman’s senior project has focused on pinpointing specific locations by using the PulsePoint AED mobile application, which can be downloaded for free on Apple and Android devices.

AEDs provide an electric shock, which allows the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm, and are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, according to the American Red Cross.

Columbus North senior Mark Sallee-Tabor, as part of his Eagle Scout project, worked with PulsePoint.org and Columbus Regional Health to create AED location apps that show exactly where various defibrillators are located in the Columbus area. His efforts were highlighted during a presentation at Columbus Regional Hospital’s Kroot Auditorium in February, where the donation of 10 AEDs by the hospital and Indiana University Health was announced.

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Those devices were being placed at public sports venues throughout Bartholomew County, raising the number of defibrillators located in public areas throughout Bartholomew County to more than 50.

Gutman and another Columbus North senior, Lilly Reynolds, were also in attendance and pledged to continue updating and uploading AED locations to the PulsePoint app. Gutman has added the locations of seven AED devices that can be found at Columbus North into the app.

In addition, she also visited 30 to 40 different sites such as gyms and doctor offices during her spring break to input those details of where AEDs can be found at those respective private locations.

Gutman said she got the idea for her senior project after her grandfather had two open-heart surgeries and continues to have a high risk of a heart attack. She thought it would be important to identify where AEDs are if a situation ever occurred and said the app is an important tool for people to have.

“Every minute your heart is not beating, your survival rate and your chance of survival decreases by 10 percent,” Gutman said.

The American Heart Association says more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States. When CPR is performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, it can double or triple a person’s chance of survival, according to the organization.

When an emergency occurs, users who have the app on their phone can open it and will be able to find every AED located within a one-mile radius, Gutman said. The app also provides step-by-step instructions on how to use an AED.

“While we don’t use these devices every day, it’s the kind of thing you want to have if you need it,” she said.

Gutman also encouraged the public to add locations where AEDs are available in the community through the app. Individuals can also upload photos and instructions on how to get to the nearest AED device as well, she said.

How to get the app

The PulsePoint AED mobile application can be downloaded for Apple and Android devices for free by searching for “PulsePoint AED.”

Presentations to health classes

Columbus North senior Jennifer Gutman will make presentations to all North health classes every period of the school day on May 12 about her senior project, which was to identify locations of automated external defibrillators in Columbus through a mobile application.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com