To coincide with Restart a Heart Day 2022, the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) has rolled out the use of a life-saving app to the whole of Scotland, which can alert those with CPR knowledge to attend a nearby cardiac arrest.
Every year about 3,200 people in Scotland are treated by the Ambulance Service after having a cardiac arrest.
Every second counts when someone has had a cardiac arrest and by equipping bystanders with the tools to help, through dialling 999, starting CPR and using a defibrillator, those suffering a cardiac arrest have a greater chance of survival.
The GoodSAM smartphone app is a mechanism that allows the ambulance service to alert responders in the community to the location of someone suffering a cardiac arrest.
Once alerted, and the alert is accepted, it instantly shares the location of a 999 call, to notify those who are registered with the app and are within 1000m of the incident, so that they can quickly respond to provide potentially lifesaving cardio-pulmonary life support (CPR).
SAS first began using the app in 2020 to alert off-duty ambulance service staff to a nearby out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
The app has also been successfully trialled with Community Cardiac Responders in the Grampian region since 2021, and now it will be used by SAS across Scotland.
GoodSAM has been adopted by other ambulance services around the world, including ambulance services in the UK and in Australia.
There are currently 1,500,000 users worldwide and since the app was launched there have been over 3,000,000 alerts globally.
The use of the GoodSAM app is supported by The Save a Life for Scotland campaign, to help everyone living in Scotland learn how they can help save a life when someone suffers an out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). They can do this by recognising there is a problem, calling 999 and starting CPR with the support of an ambulance service call handler.
Programme Lead for Out-of-Hospital-Cardiac Arrest, Steven Short, who is leading the campaign, says:
“With this roll-out of the GoodSAM app, anyone who has CPR knowledge can be a life-saver.
“When someone is in cardiac-arrest, immediate bystander action can mean the difference between life and death.
“By alerting those who are closest, they can begin CPR while waiting for help from the ambulance service to arrive.
“This may mean that people from all walks of life will turn up to an incident, and with their knowledge, they can begin the CPR, vital in keeping someone alive until help arrives.”
The GoodSAM app can be downloaded from a smartphone app store by anyone with CPR knowledge, and once registered and validated, the user will be sent alert if there has been a 999 call to a cardiac arrest within 1000 metres.
Ian Hendry is a SAS Wildcat Cardiac Responder, who uses the GoodSAM app to respond to emergency calls across North East Scotland.
“Providing the immediate care required for patients is vital should an out-of-hospital-cardiac arrest occur, and being able to arrive quickly and commence CPR is essential.
“Upon arrival, the technicians and paramedics will assume the lead, and we’ll focus on supporting the family or loved ones, and that aspect is also very rewarding.
“As a responder, it can at times be challenging depending on the situation we are faced with but we receive regular training, have the opportunity to meet other responders where we can share different scenarios and experiences, and we also have great support from the team at the Scottish Ambulance Service.
“It is humbling to witness the amazing care the SAS staff deliver to patients on a daily basis and to be able to support them in a small way is very rewarding.”
Lisa MacInnes, Director of the Save a Life for Scotland campaign said:
“Our aim is to equip everyone living in Scotland with CPR and skills and help them be CPR ready, because when someone has a cardiac arrest, every second counts.
“When someone has a cardiac arrest, they need urgent help and with the launch of the GoodSAM app in Scotland, you could be that help.
“We’re asking anyone in Scotland who knows CPR to sign-up and make themselves available to this life saving service.
“When the minutes are so important you could be the difference in helping a stranger in need who’s just around the corner or a neighbour who needs your help.”
To find out more about the GoodSAM app rollout, refresh your CPR skill and sign up to the app, please visit the Save a Life for Scotland GoodSAM pages at savealife.scot/goodsam