By Ben Norman
A small yellow dot on your rear vehicle window provides lifesaving information to emergency first responders.
As the ambulance topped the hill, the first thing the EMT saw was a car beside the road with an elderly, unconscious man lying on the ground by the driver’s door. The second thing he saw was a bright yellow dot on the vehicle’s left rear window.
The EMT immediately began administering first aid to the victim and instructed the ambulance driver to get the yellow folder from the glove compartment that would give him lifesaving information about the unconscious man. The information in the folder told the EMT the victim had a diabetic condition.
After a quick radio call to the emergency room physician, the victim was given an insulin shot and recovered. The Alabama Yellow dot program had just helped save another life.
The lifesaving Yellow Dot Program consists of placing a yellow dot decal in the lower left rear window of a vehicle, completing the information sheet and inserting it and a photo in the yellow folder provided, and placing the yellow folder in the glove compartment. First responders will know to immediately look in the glove compartment when they see the yellow dot on the rear window. Information contained in the personal and medical history section of the form will enable medical personnel to get a “jump start” on diagnosing a victim’s problem. The form also lists phone numbers of who should be contacted if there is a medical emergency.
Alabama’s Yellow Dot program is modeled after the one that was initiated in Shelton, CT., in 2002. Lora Weaver, who heads up the program for the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADEC) Highway Safety Office, heard about the Yellow Dot program and helped secure a small grant to get it started. Other agencies including sheriff’s departments, police departments, Alabama Emergency Management Agency, rescue squads, fire departments and others became interested and an initiative began to go statewide.
Jennifer Knighten administers the Yellow Dot program in Crenshaw County under the supervision of Sheriff Charles West. “We have had the Yellow Dot program for about two years and are well pleased with the results. We have had several cases where the Yellow Dot Program expedited emergency treatment,” says Knighten.
Sheriff West agrees. “This program is a godsend to first responders. It is not just for the elderly, as any age can become involved in an accident or have a debilitating illness. I encourage anyone to sign up for the Yellow Dot Program.”
Emergency room physicians also strongly support the Yellow Dot Program. Dr. Pat Walker is a specialist in internal medicine and a well-respected emergency room physician at Crenshaw County Hospital in Luverne. He has also been the medical director for ambulance services in the county for 37 years.
Dr. Walker knows firsthand how valuable it is for first responders and emergency room personnel to obtain a patient’s medical history immediately. “The Yellow Dot program will be helpful in any emergency, but especially in cases such as a diabetic with low blood sugar, stroke victims can be administered the “clot buster” shot, and any heart related problems where it may be necessary to give an aspirin or nitroglycerin which can be life saving on the spot. I highly recommend the Yellow Dot Program in conjunction with a medical alert bracelet,” said Dr. Walker.
To find out where to sign up for the Yellow Dot Program in your area, ask your local law enforcement officer, EMA office, or rescue squad or go on line at www.adeca.alabama.gov/yellowdot. A listing by Alabama electric cooperative area is also available here.You may also contact Lora Weaver at (256) 549-8142 for sign-up locations.
Ben Norman is a writer from Highland Home, Ala.