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PulsePoint: Your legal responsibilities when responding to emerg - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

PulsePoint: Your legal responsibilities when responding to emergencies

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We carry our phones with us everywhere, but what if doing so could help you save a life?

Since November of last year, nearly 950 people in San Luis Obispo have signed up to do just that. 

The concept is simple. After downloading the app called 'PulsePoint,' it notifies you when there's an emergency nearby.

People who are CPR certified could save someone in cardiac arrest, but there are a few things you should know before you try to save the day.

"We've had approximately nine cardiac arrests. Of those nine, we've had two cardiac arrests where 'PulsePoint' would have been immediately activated," said Captain Gary Hale, San Luis Obispo Fire Department.

So far, 'PulsePoint' has sent 50 alerts to more than 200 people in San Luis Obispo. The fire department would like to increase that number.

"If we think about it as a community response, I would want everyone to know CPR. I would want everybody to have this app on their phone and be able to respond, whether it's my mother, my grandmother or anyone," Captain Hale said.

CPR certified or not, KSBY news talked to a local attorney to make sure if something goes wrong, you wouldn't be held responsible for it. For the most part, that's true. 

"The goal of the law in California is to protect people who try to help. If you respond to an emergency and you are just an ordinary citizen with CPR and you give assistance, this law is designed to protect you," said Taylor Ernst, an attorney at Ernst Law Group.

There are exceptions to that law if you commit what's called gross negligence or willful misconduct.

"Which are legal terms for if you do something so out of the ordinary that you should be held responsible for it," Ernst said.

Bottom line is, you'll want to know what you're doing before you sign up. 

"If you're going to be using an application like this and responding to the scene of an emergency, you should be trained in CPR and you should know what you're doing," Ernst said.

You are not required to be CPR certified to download the app, and you'll only be notified when an emergency happens in a public place. 

To learn more about California's Good Samaritan law, click here.

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