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franklin county times

Yellow Dot program opens

Franklin County drivers can now cruise the roads with a little more peace of mind thanks to a state program that will allow drivers to alert emergency personnel to vital medical information in their car in the event of an accident.
The “Yellow Dot” Program, which is funded by a grant through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and the Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division (LETS), had its official kick-off in the area on Wednesday, making Franklin County the 39th county in the state to adopt the program.
According to Lora Weaver, program coordinator from the Northeast Alabama Traffic Safety Office (NEATSO), the “Yellow Dot” Program is a vital tool for emergency medical personnel and first responders to use in case a driver is involved in a car accident and is unable to communicate effectively.
Weaver said participants who sign up for the program would fill out certain medical information such as allergies, a list of medications they are currently taking, a preferred hospital and emergency contact information. That information, along with a recent photograph to ensure accuracy of treatment, will be placed into a special folder that is then placed in the glove box of the vehicle they drive.
Information for each member of that person’s family, no matter the age, can be included in the folder and multiple folders can be issued depending on the number of vehicles the family owns.
Participants will then be given a “Yellow Dot” decal to place in the lower left corner of their vehicle’s rear window that will alert EMS personnel to the information located inside the car for each family member.
“This program provides a voice for the injured when they are unable to communicate,” Weaver said. “Sometimes if you are involved in an accident, you are so shaken that you cannot think clearly to answer specific medical questions; or a wreck could leave you unconscious. If these things happen, emergency personnel will still have everything they need to be able to give you the proper treatment.”
Weaver said the readily available medical information is also important in a situation where time is a critical factor.
“You may be in a situation where you need treatment immediately,” she said. “By grabbing this one folder, it saves a lot of valuable time that can be better sent treating you.”
According to Weaver, the program is the first of its kind in Alabama, even though it actually started in Connecticut in 2002.
She said the program was first introduced in Alabama by NEATSO in Etowah County in February 2009 and has been a success in each county that has adopted the program since that time.
Weaver said the program is being provided for free to Franklin County resident of any age thanks to grants from ADECA/LETS and additional support from Probate Judge Barry Moore and the Franklin County Commission.
“I want to thank Judge Moore and the county commissioners for their support of this program and for wanting to ensure the safety of the residents here,” Weaver said. “We’ve been working on getting this program adopted for about a year and a half, and it was delayed after the storms on April 27 last year, but I am glad we are finally getting it kick-offed here.”
Judge Moore said there were many other people besides the commission who have been working behind the scenes to make sure this program became a reality in Franklin County.
He said people like Franklin County Fire Association President Michael Moomaw, Franklin County EMA Director Roy Gober, Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver, Russellville Fire Chief Joe Mansell, the emergency medical service providers in the county and all the coordinating agencies have been instrumental in the program’s adoption.
“This is going to be a great thing for our county,” Moore said. “Anything that will improve the safety and well-being of the citizens here is something we fully support.”
Franklin County residents who wish to participate in the program who were unable to attend Wednesday’s kick-off can sign up at one of the following permanent enrollment locations: Franklin County Courthouse, Russellville Fire Department – Station 1, Red Bay Police Department and the Franklin County EMA Office in Belgreen.
Weaver said there would also be special enrollment events held at county functions throughout the year, such as the Franklin County Watermelon Festival in August.
For more information about the “Yellow Dot” Program, go to www.adeca.alabama.gov and click on “Yellow Dot Program” or go to www.facebook.com/AlabamaYellowDot.