Four Sacramento-area fire departments have joined a dispatch system called "PulsePoint" that contacts people trained in CPR to respond to emergency calls.
The system sends a notification to anyone within a quarter-mile of an emergency cardiac condition in a business or a public place.
Richard Price is president of the non-profit PulsePoint Foundation and a retired fire chief. He says people can respond more quickly than the fire department.
"I think you're looking at an average of about eight minutes. If you don't have a pulse and you're not breathing, eight minutes is too long to survive that event neurologically intact even if you do survive."
The Sacramento, Folsom and Cosumnes Fire Departments are also part of the system.
He says he got the idea one day when he was a San Ramon Valley fire chief having lunch.
"Here comes my own crew pulling up to the deli that I was eating at and that's when I learned that right next door someone had suffered a cardiac arrest. I was unaware of it until that crew arrived. So, that whole time they were traveling to the scene, if I'd been aware of it, probably could have made a difference in the outcome of that."
Pulse Point is functioning in 1500 cities.
If you are in one of those cities and are qualified, Pulse Point will alert you if you are near a cardiac emergency there. Price responded to a call in Sacramento near City Hall just before the news conference announcing the new system.
PulsePoint cost $28,000 to install and $18,000 each year to maintain. The first year was paid for by a grant from the Wireless Foundation.