SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) joined today by the Sangamon County Health Department, first-responders and local participants kicked off the 2013 Yellow Dot program. Due to the successful introduction of the program in 2011, the speakers highlighted the results of last year’s program and encouraged all residents of Illinois to take part in this simple, life-saving initiative.
“We want everyone to understand and receive the benefits of the Yellow Dot program,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider said. “Many children have allergies or disorders and by having detailed medical information readily available to first responders, it could potentially save a child’s life.”
The Yellow Dot program is a traffic safety initiative that provides first responders with critical personal information necessary to treat victims at the crash site. Because the first hour or the “golden hour,” following an injury is the most crucial, this information can mean the difference between life and death.
Last year’s press event introduced the program with special focus on the benefits to the elderly. To start this year’s program, IDOT is stressing the importance of Yellow Dot for everyone, especially for children with serious health issues or conditions as well.
“Preventing disease, illness and injury is the primary role of public health. Preparing, as is promoted by the Yellow Dot Program, is a valuable tool in keeping families as safe as possible” Jim Stone, Director, Sangamon County Department of Public Health.
"In the event of traumatic injury or any medical emergency, time is always a factor. Plain and simply, the Yellow Dot program saves time and lives,” said Josh Ross, an EMT and Operations Manager of America Ambulance. “We see more and more children with special needs in the EMS field with hypersensitive allergies, taking special medications, and requiring special care. All of this information is crucial in providing excellent pre-hospital and Emergency Room care."
Approximately 110,000 Yellow Dot packets have been distributed up to this point. In addition, several Yellow Dot workshops have been held for people to pick-up packets, have their photo taken for the packet, along with receiving additional life-saving traffic safety tips.
Participants are supplied with a simple, bright yellow decal for their car and a folder. The decal is placed in a conspicuous and consistent place – in the lower left-hand corner of the rear window on the driver’s side. The dot signifies there is a folder in the glove compartment containing the following medical information about the motorist: participant’s name, current close-up photo, emergency contact information, patient’s physician information, medical conditions, recent surgeries, allergies and a list of current medications.
“My grandchildren are the most important people in my life,” said Julie Cowgill, a program participant whose four-year-old grandson, Maddox, is a hemophiliac. “Because of the Yellow Dot program, my family feels safe knowing Maddox will get the immediate medical treatment he truly needs if he should ever be involved in a crash. Yellow Dot sets our mind at ease – knowing we’ve done everything we can to quickly notify authorities of our grandson’s condition.”
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.
The Yellow Dot program, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, was originally introduced in Connecticut in 2002. For more information on the program and to find a distribution center near you, visit www.yellowdotillinois.org.