ALPENA - The Alpena Senior Citizens Center has begun the process of administering the Yellow Dot program, a free service that gives emergency responders immediate access to a person's medical information after a car accident or other emergency.
Similar to the center's existing Vial of Life program but made for use in a vehicle instead of a home, the Yellow Dot program uses a yellow sticker in the rear driver's side window to signal to responders that they can find a bright yellow vinyl folder in the glove compartment that contains all the driver's relevant medical information. Senior center Director Grace Marshall said Yellow Dot is less complex than some internet databases that serve a similar purpose, and it makes pertinent medical information immediately locatable and accessible at a time when people may be shaken or unconscious.
"Not only does it help our sheriff's department and the Alpena Police Department, but it also helps the Michigan State Police," she said. "A lot of our folks are snowbirds, and it is a national program, and other police forces are aware of the Yellow Dot program. So if someone were driving to Florida or Arizona or New Mexico or whatever and they experienced difficulties, the yellow dot would alert the responders that the information is there when (the victim) can't speak for themselves."
The center is currently putting packets together in anticipation of sign up sessions on Dec. 3 at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Marshall said anyone interested in the program should bring a current list of medications, emergency contact information, general health information, recent hospitalizations and health issues, names of doctors or specialists, and other relevant documentation, and staff will be on hand to help applicants fill out their forms.
"We had to come up with $2,000 in order to purchase the materials, and then it's a matter of getting it out to the public ... We set aside funds for that. We do various fundraisers throughout the year, and so we were taking a look at it and decided that that's where we would take some of the monies from," she said. "Anybody can come in and pick the packets up. If they want to come in and they're from someplace else, they can, but primarily we're rolling it out for Alpena County residents, because that's the money that we have to support it."
Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5693.