Illinois’ “Yellow-Dot Program” Can Save Your Life
By Ellen Cannon
Illinois’ new IDOT initiative called the Yellow-Dot Program enables first responders including police, firefighters, and emergency medical technician who rush to the scene of a car crash to offer immediate medical care to victims based on critical health information that a driver has placed in the glove compartment of their car. According to Illinois’s Acting Transportation Secretary, Ann Schnieder, “The Yellow Dot Program can help improve roadway safety by providing first responders the crucial medical information during the first hour following an injury they need to treat injuries and save lives, beginning at the scene of the crash.” This new program which was rolled out as few days ago, is a federally funded program administered by IDOT, The Illinois Department of Public Health, (IDPH) the Illinois Department of Aging (IDOA) and county health departments.
According to John K. Holton, Ph.D., Director of the Illinois Department of Aging, “The Yellow Dot participants are supplied with a simple, bright yellow decal for their car and a corresponding yellow folder. The decal is placed in a conspicuous consistent place- in the lower left hand corner of the rear window, driver’s side. The yellow signifies there is a folder in the glove compartment containing the following medical information about the motorists; participants name, close-up photo, emergency contact information, patient’s physician information, medical conditions, recent surgeries, allergies, and a list of current medications.” According to John Holton, “This is a great opportunity for older drivers to update their medical information and have a voice in their emergency treatment in the event of an accident. The program will serve as a lifeline to alert first responders to crucial medical information which can help the victims who may be unable to communicate at the crash site or may have forgotten to share the information.”(www.enewsspf.com, 11/25/11)
Having access to this information allows first responders to make important decisions regarding emergency treatment and can better prepare emergency hospital staff in the receiving room. This new type of information is a far cry from the basic information of location of the crash and the number of victims.”
Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. Craig Conover, underscores the importance of this new program. “Time is critical in an emergency situation. If paramedics and emergency medical workers know what medications a person is taking, if the person has allergies, or a chronic condition, they can make better decisions about treatment.
The Yellow Dot program, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, was originally introduced in Connecticut in 2002. For information on the program and locations you can visit, go to www.yellowdotillinois.org.