NY sheriffs push yellow dots for medical conditions
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -
It was a close call on July 3. An out of control SUV slammed into a business in Plattsburgh. Police say it happened when the driver blacked out at the wheel due to a medical episode. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. But accidents like this can have far worse outcomes.
"Possibly unconscious and can't answer critical questions for emergency responders, for law enforcement. We need that information; we need it to get them treated in the first hour. It could mean the difference between life and death," Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said.
That's why the New York State Sheriffs Association is rolling out the Yellow Dot Program.
"That yellow dot shows there is critical information available," Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting said.
Here's how it works: You put the sticker on the rear driver's side window. You then place the personal information card in the glove compartment of the vehicle. Information should be available for anyone who regularly occupies the vehicle. EMTs are being trained to look for the yellow dot as soon as they get on scene.
"It's a tool to help them make decisions, what might be wrong and determinations to solve the puzzle and then how to treat it," said Eric Day of Clinton County Emergency Services.
The yellow dot can also help law enforcement handle certain situations, like a person who is slumped over the steering wheel. There have been a number of police pursuits also linked to medical conditions.
"It definitely affects the officer and how they approach this person, whether they approach them as an intoxicated driver or approach them as a potential medical situation," Cutting said.
The Yellow Dot packets are free and people of all ages with medical conditions are encouraged to use them. They can be picked up at your local sheriff's department or can be requested online. The local sheriffs also plan to distribute them through community organizations.
"Young people have health conditions, it's just not about older people," said Neal Lane of AARP New York.
A golden dot that may help first responders save your life during the golden hour.
If you get a yellow dot for your car, you are also encouraged to pick one up for your house. The dot should be placed near the front door. If you have the sticker on your house, you should put the information in your freezer.
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