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MedUni Vienna students take part in "Lifesavers" project

Smartphone app notifies First Aiders of an emergency nearby
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[Translate to English:] Bild: MedUni Wien/Houdek

(Vienna, 21 March 2018) As part of a campaign by Vienna Medical Student Union, students from the Medical University of Vienna can now act as First Aiders in emergencies. A joint initiative by MedUni Vienna, Pulse charity, Lifesavers and Vienna Emergency Services, provides an app that will send volunteer First Aiders to the scene of any emergency in their vicinity to administer First Aid until the emergency services arrive. This initiative, which has already been successfully implemented for paramedics, is intended to reduce the time that elapses before life-saving treatment can be administered, so saving lives.

It is estimated that around 12,000 people a year die in Austria from sudden cardiac arrest. Many of them could be saved if first aid were administered quickly. Their chances of survival drop by around 10% for every minute that elapses before life-saving action is taken.

Control centre dispatches an ambulance and notifies First Aiders
As soon as an emergency call is received, the Vienna Emergency Services control room dispatches an ambulance to the scene. Simultaneously, registered, qualified First Aiders are notified via the Lifesavers Smartphone app that an emergency has occurred nearby and directs them to the scene. This reduces the time between the emergency call and First Aid being given.


Image: MedUni Vienna/Houdek
from left: Patrick Aigner (EMS Vienna), Vienna Provincial Parliament President Harry Kopietz, Vice-rector Anita Rieder and Jakob Eichelter (ÖH Med Wien)

"The Medical University of Vienna is delighted to be part of the Lifesavers app project and that our students are able to play an active role and contribute to the health of the City of Vienna," says Anita Rieder, Vice Rector for Education, commenting on the huge interest shown by students. More than 150 people have already registered their interest and initiator Jakob Eichelter, himself a medical student and active in MedUni Vienna's Student Union, is hoping for many more: "the more student volunteers who register, the greater the chances we will have somebody nearby to provide rapid assistance in an emergency."

In order to ensure that First Aid reaches patients reliably and using all available technical means, the server always alerts several First Aiders simultaneously. The first two to receive the assignment are directed straight to the patient. The app directs additional helpers to the nearest public defibrillator and then on to the scene of the emergency.

Vienna to become "heart-safest" city
"People in Vienna can be confident that the emergency response chain reacts quickly. This is particularly important in the case of cardiac arrest," explains Vienna Provincial Parliament President, Harry Kopietz, who is also President of "Puls" charity, which campaigns for the installation of defibrillators in public areas. "It is important to provide immediate assistance and to involve lay people. This is made possible by the provision of defibrillators in public areas. By involving the students of MedUni Vienna in the Lifesavers project, we are one step closer to achieving our goal of making Vienna the "heart-safest city."

Initiative by Pulse, Lifesavers and Vienna Medical Student Union
The collaboration is an initiative by the Austrian Union of Students at the Medical University of Vienna (ÖH Med Wien for short), Pulse charity and Lifesavers Association (www.lebensretter.at), which developed the app and introduced the system together with Berufsrettung Wien and project partners, primarily Vienna Emergency Services. So far, there have been more than 700 deployments, saving numerous lives. The project is now being extended to qualified medical students from MedUni Vienna, thus increasing the potential number of first aiders available.