Accessibility, Life Care Plan, Technology

A Yellow Dot Makes A Major Difference in an Emergency

 August 7, 2018

By  Deborah L Weiner Katz, OTR/L, CCM, CLCP

It probably does not occur to us on an ordinary day, when everything is fine, that emergency personnel and law enforcement are still thinking of ways to protect and serve us. Thanks to a cooperative effort between PennDOT, the state departments of Health and Aging, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, first responders, and local law enforcement, there now exists a Yellow Dot program designed to assist citizens in the “golden hour” of emergency care following a traffic crash. This is a time when they may not be able to communicate their needs on their own, so a Yellow Dot decal placed in the rear window alerts first responders to check the glove compartment for vital information.

How does the Yellow Dot program work?

A participation form must be filled out online. PennDOT will then mail a Yellow Dot kit. This will include an information section, asking for emergency contact information, medical history, medications, allergies and doctors. This must be completed immediately upon receipt. Following that, a photo showing only your head and shoulders needs to be affixed to a designated spot inside the booklet. The kit goes in the glove compartment. The decal gets placed in the lower left corner of the rear windshield, no higher than 3 inches form this bottom.  To participate, complete and submit this Yellow Dot Participation Form and you will receive the kit in the mail.

How can EMS and Safety Partners get the word out?

The Yellow Dot program is a wonderful opportunity for community outreach. Use these PDFs, Informational Handout, Informational Handout — On Demand x3 Style and Supporter Decal, as handouts. Keep in mind, these are not the kits themselves. So, only use them as handouts.

Where else is the Yellow Dot Kit available?

The New York Sheriff’s Association has distributed over 2 million Yellow Dots in New York State. The kit contains 2 cards and 2 yellow dot stickers. One is for the car and one is for the home.

The Washington County, NY Sheriff’s Office has a web page for its Yellow Dot program. Its specific advice for using it at home is to place a decal on or beside your front door and place a completed card for each occupant in a clear plastic freezer bag and place in a visible location in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator. A similar program is available in the Ontario County, NY Sheriff’s Office.

Where did this life-saving program begin?

It started in Connecticut in 2002, thanks to People’s United Bank. The New York State Sheriff’s Association, a not-for-profit corporation formed in 1934, was formed to assist sheriffs in the efficient and effective delivery of sheriffs’ services to the public. It comprises all of the elected and appointed sheriffs of New York State. Since its inception, the non-profit has been spearheading the effort to establish the Yellow Dot program across New York State. This effort involves making it available to all County Sheriffs.

The Yellow Dot program is a cooperative effort of the New York State Sheriff’s Association, County Sherriff’s Office, Local and State Police, Emergency Medical Services, and local Fire Departments.  Since 2013, the program has become national and continues to spread across the country.

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