Members of the public can help save lives if they register as CPR responders for the GoodSAM app. File photo / Lee Howell.

A new app to alert CPR-trained bystanders when someone is suffering a cardiac arrest is about to start saving lives in New Zealand.

The app, called GoodSAM (Good Smartphone Activated Medics), allows members of the public who are trained in CPR to register as “responders”.

When someone is having a cardiac arrest, an alert is sent to nearby responders who may be able to step in and help.

“Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time,” said Wellington Free Ambulance medical director Andy Swain.

“In New Zealand, about 2000 people per year are treated for cardiac arrests and only approximately 15 per cent survive. Survival is largely due to the quick actions of bystanders initiating help within the first few minutes. For every minute without CPR or defibrillation, survival decreases by 10 per cent.”

The app was developed in London and has been implemented by a number of ambulance services around the world. It’s now available to everyday Kiwis who want to make a difference.

“The more people who download the app, the more coverage we will achieve across New Zealand, and the more likely we are to improve outcomes from cardiac arrest,” said St John medical director Tony Smith.

Trained ambulance personnel have been using the app since December, and now Fire and Emergency NZ and DHB professionals are coming on board.

The rollout of the app was partly funded through a $35,000 donation by The Gift Trust, and is supported by the New Zealand National Cardiac Network and the New Zealand Resuscitation Council.

It is free to download from the Google, Apple, and Microsoft app stores.

The numbers

  • Every week, on average, four people suffer from cardiac arrest in Greater Wellington and Wairarapa.
  • In the Wellington region, 77 per cent of cardiac arrests happen at home, 23 per cent in a public space.
  • Wellington is the second safest city in the world to have a cardiac arrest, after Seattle, USA.
  • For free CPR training, business, schools, community groups and individuals can contact the Heartbeat Community CPR Training Programme by visiting emailing
  • An automatic external defibrillator (AED) can increase someone’s chance of survival by up to 80 per cent if applied immediately.

Source: NZ Herald

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