At the SXSW conference, a company called BBH equipped homeless employees with wireless devices to allow internet access. They wore T-shirts that stated ‘I’m a Wifi hotspot” and were paid between $20 and $50 a day, plus asking for a suggested $2-$15 tip for each person requesting the password to their internet access device.
The idea was niche, drew massive attention, and was a huge flop. Human rights organizations made claims of exploitation, doctors shouted that carrying a cell phone constantly streaming to multiple devices could be harmful and some groups simply stated the move was in bad taste.
Building off that experience, the local Austin Travis County EMS service is preparing a bold new program that I am stealing right out from under them. Sorry guys, you shouldn’t let your research Captain chat with me on skype.
The San Francisco Fire Department has received a federal grant to deploy a fleet of state of the art automatic external defibrillators using our large homeless population in the City.
The homeless will be paid a stipend of $100 a week to carry the device so long as they wear the issued parka with the phrase “I’m an AED, I can save your life.” Should the AED be deployed successfully a reward of $5000 is to be paid if the victim survives.
With the homeless population in San Francisco hovering around 10,000 and most of them in the downtown corridors, we could see an AED on scene within seconds, not minutes.
Homeless outreach programs are against the plan, claiming that the homeless will simply not carry the AEDs or try to sell them in exchange for food or shelter, but if we focus on the 500-1000 that refuse shelter, I think we can be successful. Sudden out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest is a big deal these days and I’ve been told we need to flex every resource in the community to make a bigger impact on the survival rate, so I am.
Next time you’re in the City and see a homeless person begging for change, ask them if they’re an AED, they just might save your life.