Canton Zug, 09.02.2024

An app will soon help first responders save more lives

Every second counts in the event of a cardiac arrest. First responders apply life-saving measures to bridge the time until the emergency services arrive. An app is intended to make the network of these helpers denser.

The so-called first responders are volunteer helpers: in the event of a cardiac emergency, for example, they save lives by bridging the time until the emergency services arrive. From 5th February 2024, first responders have been called out in the neighbouring canton of Schwyz using a new app. "This was developed by the Zurich Building Insurance company (Gebäudeversicherung Zürich) and the Operations Control Centre of Schutz und Rettung Zürich (Protection & Rescue) together with the Rescuetrack company", said the cantonal health department on request.

In the event of a cardiovascular arrest, the probability of survival decreases by the minute. First responders can bridge the time until the emergency services arrive. They are regularly trained in resuscitation measures.

In an emergency, first responders provide valuable assistance to bridge th time until the emergency services arrive             Symbolic photo: Mihajlo Maricic/iStockphoto

Schutz und Rettung coordinates emergency operations on behalf of the canton of Zug. It also does this in the cantons of Zurich, Schaffhausen and Schwyz, and the new app will also be used in the canton of Zug from the beginning of 2025. According to a statement from the canton of Schwyz, the app will now be gradually introduced in the cantons that provide their rescue services through Schutz und Rettung Zürich.

App knows where first responders are
"The alerting via the app is geo-referenced," explains Health Director Martin Pfister. "This means that the three first responders closest to the incident location will be called out, regardless of where the first responders come from." In future, first responders from the cantons of Zurich and Schwyz can also be called out if they happen to be in the canton of Zug, and vice versa.

"For example," explains the Director of Health, "a first responder from Rotkreuz who works in Zurich can also be deployed in Zurich. Or a first responder from Schwyz who is on holiday in Oberägeri may be called out there in the event of a cardiac emergency."

The aim of this innovation is to provide the population of the canton of Zug with faster, more efficient and better care in the event of an emergency.

Call-outs still linked to the municipality
The call-outs are currently tied to the respective municipality, says Martin Pfister. "If a municipality doesn't have a first responder group, there is no call-out." The aim is to "equip the entire canton of Zug with first responders across the board", explains the Director of Health.

This will make the network of first responders much denser overall.

The canton of Zug currently has two first responder groups; one in the municipality of Risch and the other in the Aegeri valley. "We are planning to set up another group in the municipality of Neuheim in spring 2024," says Martin Pfister. "But none of the other municipalities have a first responder system at the moment."

First responders in the canton of Zug are already called out by Schutz und Rettung Zürich, but this is currently done by telephone. With the app, alerts can now be raised more quickly and accurately. And the app can also be used by non-professionals. But: "among other things, a valid BLS AED certificate is required for registration," adds Martin Pfister.