Life saving new smartphone app

Charity stories Effective Philanthropy

If your heart stops beating, a 10 minute wait for an ambulance might be too long. Every minute without CPR reduces a victim’s chance of survival by 10 percent. A donation from a Gift Trust donor has launched a new smartphone app to link trained nearby first aiders to people who are having a cardiac arrest.

If your heart stops beating, a 10 minute wait for an ambulance might be too long. Every minute without CPR reduces a victim’s chance of survival by 10 per cent. What if a trained nearby first aider could be sent to assist you faster? 

There’s an app for that.

Operating internationally, the GoodSAM (Good Smartphone Activated Medics) is an advanced emergency alerting platform to speed up a first response for cardiac arrests.

Using GPS, it alerts those in the vicinity who have registered with the app that a cardiac arrest is taking place. It also alerts them of the location of the nearest defibrillator (AED) so they can perform CPR and use the AED before an ambulance arrives. The goal: to be on the scene as soon as possible.


Gift Trust donor supports New Zealand implementation costs

The implementation of the app was part-funded through a generous $35,000 donation by one of our donors at The Gift Trust.

I’m very happy to help support the Good Sam app to launch in New Zealand. I am a volunteer firefighter and trained in CPR and I can really see how this app could help.
— Gift Trust Donor

This donation supported the integration of this app with the New Zealand ambulance dispatch system. The app launched in April 2018, so that when 111 receives a call, an ambulance will be dispatched at the same time as the Good SAM app notifies the nearest first responders.

This project is a collaboration between St John and Wellington Free Ambulance, in conjunction with the National Cardiac Network of New Zealand.

It’s essential to have this app integrated with the ambulance dispatch service. This donation has made a huge difference and enabled us to fast-track the development of this app. We can’t wait to launch it in July
— Tony Smith, Medical Director at St John New Zealand

Outcomes: saving lives

In New Zealand, 1500 people a year have a cardiac arrest – more than the road toll. On average 55% receive CPR and only 15% will survive with ambulances arriving on average 8-9mins after a call out.

“We know it’s very common for someone trained in CPR – like an off-duty ambulance, fire, police, doctor or nurse– to be within 500 meters of a person in cardiac arrest, but not know the cardiac arrest is occurring. Currently, we have no way of knowing they are there or notifying them,” says Smith. “This app could result in someone being on the scene to give CPR within five minutes. This increases the chances of survival to 40%, instead of the current 15%. This means we could save approximately 180 lives a year.”


Get the app, save a life

“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,” says Dr Smith.

If you are a trained CPR responder, you can download the app from the Apple storeGoogle Play and Microsoft and register in advance for when this service comes online in New Zealand at


“The Gift Trust provides a personalised service for my plan to give, donate and support the causes that are important to me at a reasonable cost.”

— Gillian, Gift Trust donor

Get in touch

    3 MacDonald Crescent
    PO Box 19120, Marion Square
    Wellington, New Zealand

    04 391 4438