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Gadgetry: Apps Designed for Safety and Community Awareness

Albert Ornelas
By Albert Ornelas
DIGITAL MEDIA SPECIALIST

FOREWARN makes available client information to minimize personal risk, and PulsePoint provides up-to-the-minute alerts from fire and safety services or local residents.

As a REALTOR®, you sometimes work alone, show vacant property to clients whom you don’t really know, and venture into neighborhoods with which you are unfamiliar. Now, there’s an app—or two—for that! These apps can provide summary information about prospective clients and make you more aware of neighborhood activity.

An App for Personal Safety

REALTORS® are probably most vulnerable when they are walking a would-be buyer through a listed property. Frequently, they do so alone and with very little knowledge about their prospective client, in part because many of today’s buyers research property online and are not initially represented by an agent.

FOREWARN was designed especially for use by the real estate industry. It provides direct access to instant information about a client even before the agent and client meet. This app leverages massive data resources and complex analytics to give real estate agents quick access to accurate information. Using only the incoming phone number, FOREWARN can positively identify more than 80 percent of prospective buyers.

After installing the app and signing up for a monthly subscription at the FOREWARN website, agents can reverse incoming calls to identify a prospect, verify current property and vehicle ownership, search for a history of criminal activity, determine whether there have been past bankruptcies or whether current bankruptcies or liens exist, and estimate the prospect’s assets.

Real estate agents need to know with whom they are doing business. Agents and brokerages allocate thousands of dollars to research hundreds of inquiries each month. With the FOREWARN app, they no longer need to do so because, when coupled with a smartphone, FOREWARN puts a data verification system in the palm of an agent’s hand.

The FOREWARN app can be downloaded free at the Apple App Store. It requires iOS 9.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Agents need a FOREWARN account to search for information and receive results. Subscription costs begin at about $20 for individuals. For additional information about the FOREWARN app, visit www.forewarn.com.

An App for Community Awareness

Although REALTORS® make it their business to know their communities, they may be unfamiliar with any particular neighborhood. With the increasingly popular PulsePoint app, REALTORS® can be informed about emergency activity in real time in any community they visit and have access to all incidents, whether a police assist, an overdose, or an even a more immediate threat.

The PulsePoint app is easy to upload to a smartphone and receives event-driven updates regarding police activity, medical emergencies, fire department events, and requests for citizenassisted cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in instances of sudden cardiac arrest.

Users can choose to display all incident types or only specific ones. REALTORS® can use this information for themselves or pass it along to their clients.

PulsePoint was created by Richard Price, who explains that the idea for this application came to him in 2010, when he was serving as fire chief in the San Ramon Valley. While he was having lunch at a restaurant, he heard sirens and saw one of his own engines pull up in front of the same restaurant.

It turned out that someone next door had collapsed and gone into cardiac arrest. Price was CPR-certified and carried a defibrillator in his car; but because he was the department chief, he was not dispatched to the call and did not know about it at the time.

This incident left Price wondering if there might be a way to alert civilians who were trained to provide immediate help in the event of a similar nearby emergency. The American Heart Association estimates that 383,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year in the United States. Price’s goal was to increase the likelihood that a victim in cardiac arrest would receive CPR quickly.

In 2012, Price’s invention, the PulsePoint CPR/AED notification app, earned for him both the American Heart Association Heart of Gold Award and the Journal of Emergency Medical Services’ EMS10 Innovator of the Year Award.

Today, through the use of modern, location-aware mobile devices, PulsePoint is building applications that work with local public safety agencies to improve communications with citizens and off-duty personnel as a way of empowering them to help reduce the estimated one million worldwide deaths annually from sudden cardiac arrest.

Price is president of the PulsePoint Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area, whose primary goal is to make it easier for citizens who are trained in CPR to use their life-saving skills to save lives. This foundation accepts donations to expand the availability of this life-saving application. The PulsePoint app is free and is available for both the Apple iOS and Android smartphones.

For more information about the PulsePoint app, visit www.pulsepoint.com.