If you ever have a heart attack, Scott Brawner is the first person you would want on the scene. Brawner has been a firefighter with Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue for 20 years, and has performed CPR more times than he can count.
Brawner was off-duty last Friday, exercising on the treadmill at 24-Hour Fitness and listening to Pandora when an alarm sounded on his phone.
It was an alert from Pulse Point, a smart phone app that notifies first responders and citizens who've been trained in CPR when they're within walking distance of a person in cardiac arrest. His employer started using the app two years ago, and Clackamas Fire District 1, where Brawner lives, has also signed on.
A map popped up on his phone, showing him both his location and the location of the cardiac arrest victim, in the gym parking lot. There, Brawner found a security guard who had called 911 standing next to a car. Drew Basse, a 57-year-old truck driver, was slumped over inside the car, unconscious and not breathing.
Brawner says he felt a moment of shock when he saw Basse's face, and realized that he'd seen him working out in the gym an hour earlier.
"I picked him up out of the front seat, laid him on the ground, and performed CPR. I think my (inner) rescuer just kicked in at that point," Brawner explained.
Brawner estimates he performed several hundred chest compressions, breaking many of Basse's ribs, before a fire truck arrived and on-duty firefighters took over.
A spokesman for the Clackamas Fire District says Basse is expected to recover fully with no loss of cognitive function because CPR was administered so quickly.
Brawner met with Basse and his family in the hospital. He says Basse teased him for breaking his ribs.
"Then he got really emotional, and he said, 'Thank you for saving my life. Giving me some time to spend with my grandchildren and my family,'" Brawner recalled.
Pulse Point says its app, which is available on iTunes, is being used in about 600 cities, including Tualatin, Clackamas, and Vancouver. The Portland Fire Bureau is adopting it this year. Brawner says the app is easy to use, even for someone with minimal CPR training, and he encourages citizens to sign up for it. The company tracks the number of times the app is used nationally in real time, and how many people responded to the alert.
According to Brandon Paxton, a spokesman for the Clackamas Fire District, sudden cardiac arrest is different than a heart attack, and is caused when the heart's electrical system malfunctions and the heart stops working properly.
For every minute that passes without a SCA victim receiving resuscitation, the chances of that person surviving decrease 10 percent, Paxton says. After 10 minutes the chances of survival are minimal.
This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.