Merced supervisors mull use of CPR phone app

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comJanuary 27, 2014 

— The Board of Supervisors today will hear about a new smartphone app that makes it possible for residents to save lives. They will also look at approving a permit for a solar plant project and consider adopting Castle Airport’s five-year capital improvement plan.

Supervisors will hear a presentation about the PULSE program, a collaborative effort by Riggs Ambulance Service, Merced Fire Department, Mercy Medical Center and the Merced Police Department. The program allows residents who know how to perform CPR to be alerted when someone goes into cardiac arrest in a public place within a quarter mile of their location.

It uses the free PulsePoint app, which is available for any smartphone in Merced County.

Merced Fire Chief Mike McLaughlin said his department will provide free training of “hands-only CPR,” which takes about five minutes to learn. Once trained, residents who download the app will be ready to render life-saving services.

“Now a citizen who is right next door or across the street will become the first first-responder and be able to help out a neighbor or loved one,” McLaughlin said. “Without hands-only CPR the person is dead. With it they at least have a chance.”

A public hearing will be held during the board meeting to consider the approval of a conditional use permit for a large solar project. The applicant, Michael Lichtenfeld-Vega Solar LLC, proposes constructing a 20-megawatt solar photovoltaic electrical generation facility on 178.3 acres of agricultural land. The project site is located in the Los Banos area, near El Campo and Woo roads.

The land is being used for crops, so the project site would need to be removed from the Williamson Act agricultural preserve. Construction of the solar facility would take 12 months and it would operate for 25 years, according to county documents. About 100 people are expected to be employed through the construction period.

The board will also consider adopting an annual update for Castle Airport’s five-year capital improvement plan. Each year, the Federal Aviation Administration requests an update of each airport’s wish list of projects, which are added to a nationwide list for possible grant funding.

Airfield maintenance and upgrades to help Castle meet its future role as an aviation, cargo and commercial airport are included in this year’s list.

The Board of Supervisors will meet at 10 a.m. today in the board’s chamber on the third floor of the Merced County Administration Building, 2222 M St., Merced.

Sun-Star staff writer Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or

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