New program gives helps first responders an edge at crash scenes - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New program gives helps first responders an edge at crash scenes

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It's called the "Golden Hour". These are the crucial moments just after emergency personnel arrive at a crash scene.

"That's where a lot of critical decisions are made and that's when your care comes in," says Jennifer Flynn of the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Region 2 office.

Her agency's new Yellow Dot program helps first responders easily identify if vehicle crash victims have specific medical needs.

"The critical hour for medical personnel to be able to save your life," adds Flynn.

The process is easy. Just go to any Siskin Hospital location in Hamilton or Bradley County, fill out a form, and then get a specially-marked yellow sticker to put on the lower left corner of your rear windshield. Include a picture of yourself, too. If you don't have a recent snapshot one can be taken for you when you apply. Your social security number is not required.

Place the form containing your medical information, along with your picture, in the glove box. This is where emergency responders will go if they see the yellow sticker on your vehicle.

"If we have a patient who's unconscious or unresponsive or unable to tell us that information, it's wonderful to have that information readily at hand," explains Ken Wilkerson, Chief of Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services. His crews respond to nearly 30,000 calls each year, more than 7,000 of them are vehicle crashes.

While there are ways first responders can be alerted to the location of your medical information at home, having it in your car or truck adds an extra level of insurance.

"This [Yellow Dot] is a real good program from a mobile stand point," adds Wilkerson.

"It's like wearing a medic alert bracelet but only it's on your car," is how Flynn describes it.

Diane Sizemore jumped right on board, mainly for her husband who has a few health problems but still does a lot of driving.

"He's got a lot of drug allergies. So they have to be careful about what they give him at any point in time," says Sizemore.

She's grateful for TDOT taking action and has a little more peace of mind.

"I think it's going to be great. I think it's going to be very beneficial," adds Sizemore.

"Yellow Dot" is free and available for drivers of all ages who have medical issues. You can even sign up if you drive a motorcycle. The sticker's just a smaller than the regular one.

You only need one sticker per vehicle, but each vehicle must have a picture and completed form for each household member with sensitive medical needs.

For more information about the program call 423-634-1217 or visit www.siskinrehab.org . For enrollment sites outside of Hamilton County visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/yellowdot/ .

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