ERWIN — Every second matters in emergency situations, and the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department is now taking part in a program designed to provide emergency responders with vital information as quickly as possible.
The sheriff’s department recently announced that it is participating in the Tennessee Department of Transportation-sponsored Yellow DOT Program. It’s aimed toward senior drivers, and those wishing to participate will be provided a Yellow DOT decal and folder.
The folder containers a sheet for the participant to provide a photo, his or her name and other information such as emergency contacts, medical conditions, current medications and any allergies.
The Yellow DOT decal can be placed on the driver’s side rear window of the participant’s vehicle. Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said this decal lets emergency responders know that a Yellow DOT folder is in the vehicle and to look for the packet containing emergency information.
“That shows law enforcement, as well as EMS personnel, that this packet is in the vehicle,” Hensley said. “It contains all your medical emergency contact numbers. It’s a real, real good program.”
TDOT said victims in vehicle incidents are often unable to communicate critical information. Immediately following a car crash, responders have what is referred to as the “golden hour,” a time in which medical care is especially critical.
The program will assist emergency responders by saving time in identification of the injured and communicating necessary emergency information, regardless of the participant’s condition.
Hensley said the program could also be beneficial for drivers with epileptic or diabetic conditions.
“We’ve had problems here in this county where people appeared to be drunk, and their sugar would be out of whack,” he said. “Once this is filled out and put in the glove box or over the sun visor, even if you have an accident and you’re unresponsive, EMS personnel has this to go by in case you’re allergic to medicines and all that.”
Hensley will be speaking about the program today at 10 a.m. at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center, 220 Union St. Hensley said those wishing to pick up packets may do so at the Sheriff’s Department on Jackson Love Highway, town of Unicoi Town Hall on Unicoi Drive or at the Clinchfield center. There is no cost for the packets.
For more information on the Yellow DOT program, call the sheriff’s department at 743-1864 or the senior center at 743-4521.