Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a major healthcare problem, with approximately 200 weekly cases in the Netherlands. Its critical, time-dependent nature makes it a unique medical situation, of which outcomes strongly rely on infrastructural factors and on-scene care by emergency medical services (EMS). Survival to hospital discharge is poor, although it has substantially improved, to roughly 25% over the last years. Recognised key factors, such as bystander resuscitation and automated external defibrillator use at the scene, have been markedly optimised with the introduction of technological innovations. In an era with ubiquitous smartphone use, the Dutch digital text message alert platform HartslagNu (www.hartslagnu.nl) increasingly contributes to timely care for OHCA victims. Guidelines emphasise the role of cardiac arrest recognition and early high-quality bystander resuscitation, which calls for education and improved registration at HartslagNu. As for EMS care, new technological developments with future potential are the selective use of mechanical chest compression devices and extracorporeal life support. As a future innovation, ‘smart’ defibrillators are under investigation, guiding resuscitative interventions based on ventricular fibrillation waveform characteristics. Taken together, optimisation of available prehospital technologies is crucial to further improve OHCA outcomes, with particular focus on more available trained volunteers in the first phase and additional research on advanced EMS care in the second phase.