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Yellow Dot may be a life-saver in crashes

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 1:32 a.m.
This yellow dot will alert first responders to valuable medical information inside a vehicle.

First responders in Armstrong County will be looking for the big yellow dot on vehicles involved in traffic accidents.

The yellow dot will tell rescuers to check the glove compartment for vital information to ensure that crash victims receive the right medical attention.

It's part of a new state program aimed at saving lives. The program helps victims in a crash before it happens.

“That would be so helpful,” said Chad Evans, Manor Township Fire Department assistant chief. “If someone is unconscious and can't tell you, their vital medical information would be right there.”

“We can find the information we need immediately,” added Ford City Ambulance Manager Dave Dunmire.

Gov. Tom Corbett last week announced that PennDOT is starting two voluntary programs aimed at saving the lives of Pennsylvanians in emergency situations – the Yellow Dot and Emergency Contact Information programs.

“Both programs give you that buffer — if you can't communicate,” said Deborah Casadei, PennDOT District 10 public information officer. “Often you can't speak for yourself. The yellow dot lets first responders know vital information about you. In a crash — it's in your glove box.”

“There are a lot of requests for it,” she said.

Participants in the Yellow Dot program fill out the program form with their emergency contact, medical contact and medical information, insert it in the program's folder and then place it in their vehicle's glove compartment. Participants then place a yellow dot sticker on their vehicle's rear window. This sticker alerts emergency responders to check a vehicle's glove compartment for the folder, helping emergency responders provide specific care to participants after a crash.

A second new program, the Emergency Contact Information program, offers Pennsylvania driver's license and PennDOT-issued ID holders the opportunity to log into a secure database and list two emergency contacts.

They can update the information as needed, but only law enforcement officials can view their information in the system by scanning a barcode.

In the event of an emergency, law enforcement can use the participant's ID to find their emergency contact information.

While the Yellow Dot program is used only in vehicle crashes, the Emergency Contact Information program is usable in other emergencies as well as crashes.

“I sincerely hope that people never have to use these programs once they're signed up, but I'm pleased that Pennsylvania now has these tools available to help people when they're in dire need,” Corbett said in a news release.

Mitch Fryer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or mfryer@tribweb.com.

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