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Yellow Dot program could save lives

August 1st, 2011 8:58 am by Staff Report

Aging Baby Boomers are behind a national program to provide emergency responders with important medical information about themselves if they are involved in an auto crash. Earlier this month, USA Today reported the success of the Yellow Dot program has captured the attention of elderly motorists and rescue workers across the country.
The program is designed to help victims of auto crashes during the first 60 minutes after an accident. Medical responders refer to this time as the crucial “golden hour,” and say quick attention and proper care during this period can mean the difference between life and death for the critically injured.
Those who participate in this free program get a yellow dot to place on their rear window that alerts emergency responders to look for a corresponding yellow folder in the glove box. That folder contains a photograph of the driver, along with their medical history and a list of prescriptions they take.
The Yellow Dot program started in Connecticut in 2002. Its popularity among Baby Boomers has seen the program implemented in other states, including Alabama where it is now in use in 27 counties. State officials there say two segments of the population support the program strongly.
“The residents of the state realize the importance of it, particularly someone with a lot of medical issues,” Lora Weaver, program coordinator for the Northeast Alabama Traffic Safety Office, told USA Today. “The second group is the first responders, because they know when they arrive, if the person is unable to communicate, they know they can go to the glove compartment and get the information they need, and they can do it immediately without wasting a lot of time.”
Alabama officials say the program has been a great success there. So much so, in fact, that 33 other states have contacted them to get information about establishing their own Yellow Dot programs. Sumner County is among several counties in Tennessee that have implemented the Yellow Dot program. We think counties here in Upper East Tennessee should also adopt the program. Emergency responders, retiree organizations and local governments must get the word out about this life-saving program.

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