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Health: MyHeartMap Challenge Saves Lives With Cell Phones

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There's a new challenge for people in Philadelphia. They can now win money and save lives with their cell phones. Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl is On Your Side with a unique local contest that's starting Tuesday.

It's a contest to locate AED's (Automated External Defibrillators), around the city. They help save lives when someone has a sudden cardiac arrest--when their heart stops beating.

Cierra Edwards is on a treasure hunt. She's looking for Automated External Defibrillators, something that saved her dad's life at 30th Street Station just a couple of weeks ago.

"They are extremely important, because if there wasn't one on hand at the site at 30th Street, my dad probably wouldn't be here today," said Cierra, who is participating in Penn Medicine's MyHeartMap Challenge.

There are an estimated 5,000 AED's around the city of Philadelphia, but there is no comprehensive map to show their locations. That's what Dr. Raina Merchant, a Penn researcher and emergency room specialist, is hoping to produce.

"We're asking people to use their cell phones to take pictures of the AED's and send them to our database. And we hope that through that process, they actually become more aware of where these are located in their environment," said Dr. Merchant.

With the information, Dr. Merchant plans on creating a registry for the city's 9-1-1 Center, and an app for the public to access, so that when minutes count the most, people can easily find a life saving defibrillator, which delivers an electric shock to restart the heart, is easy to use and comes with instructions.

"The ultimate goal is to improve the likelihood of people using these devices, so that everybody has a chance of surviving when their heart stops," said Dr. Merchant.

Cierra hopes this challenge will make people more aware of AED's, something she doesn't take for granted anymore.

"I feel as though this contest and everything that we do, it's going to be an eye opener. Wake people up, to get educated and to learn about the AED's," said Cierra.

Participants are encouraged to use social media, like asking their friends on Facebook, to help them find AED's. People with iPhones and Droids can download the contest app. The challenge is free and goes for the next six weeks, and the person who finds the most will win $10,000.

For more information on the MyHeartMap Challenge, click here.

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