Drivers Can — and Should — Prepare for the Worst with
Pennsylvania’s New Yellow Dot Program
It may sound crazy, but a yellow dot could save your life.
This relatively simple idea — part of a nationwide public safety effort that Pennsylvania recently joined — has proven to be an effective way for drivers injured in an accident to relay important information to emergency response teams.
All you have to do is place a special yellow sticker in the bottom left corner of your vehicle’s rear window. This alerts first responders to check the glove compartment for, among other things, your emergency contact information, medical history, and a list of medications.
And, best of all, it’s free to participate.
‘The best thing I’ve ever seen’
First initiated in Connecticut in 2002, the Yellow Dot Program has given a voice to people in life-threatening situations.
The initiative, however, is not only valuable to those in serious accidents who are unable to respond to emergency workers. It’s also a vital tool in less serious accidents when victims are in shock and may have difficulty remembering things.
“This program speaks for people when they can’t speak for themselves so medical concerns can be addressed and contacts can be reached as quickly as possible,” Gov. Tom Corbett said recently.
For instance, when an 87-year-old man was involved in a serious accident soon after placing a yellow dot and medical information in his truck, first responders were able to quickly alert his family as he was being airlifted to the hospital.
“When we went back to see him,” a family member recalls, “the nurse held up the Yellow Dot folder and said, ‘Where did you get this?’ I told her, and she said, ‘This is the best thing I’ve ever seen.’”
Where to get a kit
Pennsylvania’s Yellow Dot kits are available from a number of sources, including:
· online at www.YellowDot.pa.gov(click on the “How can I participate in Yellow Dot?” link);
· at one of Pennsylvania’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging; and
· at Regional EMS/County Health Centers.[Call (877)-PA-HEALTH (877-724-3258) to find the nearest center.]
The kit includes a yellow dot decal, which you should put in your vehicle’s rear window.
Participants also need to complete a personal information form that asks for such things as your name, address and phone number, emergency contact information, medical history, medications, and hospital preference. The document, along with your photo, should then be placed in your glove box.
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Note: The Yellow Dot Program is a cooperative effort among the state departments of Transportation, Health, and Aging, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, first responders, and local law enforcement.