On January 25, tech news site Tech Crunch reported on a new iPhone app that aims to connect CPR-trained good Samaritans to people in urgent situations, particularly those suffering heart attacks.

If you're trained in CPR's life-saving techniques and are willing to help strangers in need, the app allows you to receive an alert if someone in crisis is located in your general area. When an emergency dispatch center (911 in the US) receives a call for an emergency occurring near you, you receive a notification with the victim's location. If the victim is suffering from a heart attack, the app tells you if and where you can find an automated external defibillator on the way or nearby.

The project is being spearheaded by the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, located near San Francisco, California, and is available only in that region for now. The aim, reported in the article, is not to make money but to save lives, and everything is open sourced - although more work needs to be done, and liability issues need to be ironed out, before other cities can expect to see the system up and running.

Tech Crunch reports that "survival rates for people who need ambulance assistance during a heart attack are depressingly low." Each minute is vital, and it typically takes about eight minutes or more for an ambulance to arrive on the scene, the article states.

Other smart phone apps designed to save lives include the AirStrip OB, an iPhone app developed for doctors in obstetrics, or doctors dealing with pregnancy and childbirth. It sends detailed information on a patient's vitals so that they know the condition of their patient on the go. Another app, CPR & Choking, is free and houses video demonstrations that teach you what to do if someone you know is undergoing a medical emergency or cardiac arrest.

Read more about Fire Department here: http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/25/new-initiative-harnesses-smartphones-to-help-keep-heart-attack-victims-alive/