Timeliness in response after a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is crucial. According to a Joint Commission report on SCA sponsored by Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and St. Jude Medical corporations, about 295,000 people experience sudden cardiac arrest in the U.S. each year. Only 7 to 8.5% who have an SCA survive. The report also states that bystander care can have a significant positive impact on the outcome of SCA. We’ve written previously about bystander or citizen response groups including the Pulsepoint Respond program and AED Map. A collaboration in the European Union recently introduced a citizen responder program with broad support.

The First Responder App Initiative (FRA) is a program run by the Initiative of the Heart Center Lübeck and the Institute for Emergency Medicine (iRun) of the University of Schleswig-Holstein. The FRA’s two elements include registered and qualified bystander notification and a location database of publicly accessible Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). The citizen responders notified by the FRA have documented CPR training. The responders also have stated their willingness to assist in cardiac emergencies when someone may need CPR. The FRA links to the European Registry of Cardiac Arrest (EuReCa One), a database that tracks cardiac arrest incidents throughout Europe. The FRA is an “enterprise-class, back-end-as-a-service (BaaS) pre-arrival solution” to support emergency departments. According to the group behind the initiative, the system complies with EU data security standards.

Government organizations, local authorities, and emergency departments in any EU country are invited to join the First Responder App Initiative. The group offers assistance with program implementation in EU sites and has a test download version for those who would like to check out the App. Regionalized bystander response systems such as FRA could potentially save many lives by offering easy access to an organized network of qualified people trained and willing to help that is already tied into the area’s existing emergency response system.