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Yellow Dot program could improve emergency care

Ogle County Health Department Administrator Doreen O'Brien holds the Yellow Dot packets that are available at the health department. She said the IDOT-sponsored program is beginning to catch on. Photo by Vinde Wells
Ogle County Health Department Administrator Doreen O'Brien holds the Yellow Dot packets that are available at the health department. She said the IDOT-sponsored program is beginning to catch on. Photo by Vinde Wells

Local fire and police chiefs are enthusiastic about a new program that could improve emergency care for persons involved in vehicle crashes.

Earlier this month the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) unveiled the Illinois Yellow Dot program, a potentially life-saving traffic safety initiative that provides first responders with critical information.

The program offers citizens a packet that contains a yellow dot sticker for the back of their vehicles.

The yellow dot signifies to first responders that medical information is in the vehicle's glove box.

The packets can be picked up currently at the Ogle County Health Department, 907 W. Pines Rd., Oregon.

Byron Fire Chief Galen Bennett said the packets and information on how to use them will be available at the department's EMS open house on May 21.

"I think it's an awesome program," Bennett said. "If we get to an accident and the patient can't communicate, if we see the yellow dot in the back window, we know we have the information to treat the patient appropriately."

He said existing medical conditions make a significant difference in how patients should be treated and what medications they should be given.

Mt. Morris Fire Chief Rob Hough said his department has already begun training for the program.

"We're training our personnel to look for it," he said. "It's one more thing to look for when we are determining the right treatment for a patient in an vehicle accident."

Oregon Police Chief Darin DeHaan encouraged the public to to pick up and use the Yellow Dot packets.

"It quickly and easily identifies medical conditions for first responders as soon as they arrive on the scene," he said.  "I think this is an excellent idea and would encourage anyone with a relevant medical issue to participate."

Hough said he believes the program can be effective if people take part in it.

DeHaan agreed. "It's all relative to the participation," he said. "If the medical information is kept in the glove box and updated, it will be an effective tool."

Ogle County Health Administrator Doreen O'Brien said the program is beginning to catch on.

"We've had a few people come in to pick up the packets," she said.

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 and consistent place – in the lower left-hand corner of the rear window, driver’s side.

The yellow dot signifies that is a folder is in the glove compartment containing the following medical information about the motorists: participant’s name, close-up photo, emergency contact information, patient’s physician information, medical conditions, recent surgeries, allergies and a list of current medications.

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