CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Commissioners said yes Dec. 10 to implementing a new program that would provide vital information to first responders when a person is involved in a vehicle crash and unable to communicate.
According to the National Safety Commission, the national program was started in Connecticut in 2002 and is now in use in many counties across the country.
State law allows counties to implement the Yellow Dot critical motorist information program. The same as in other parts of the country, Florida’s program calls for participants to place a yellow dot decal in the lower corner of their vehicle’s rear window or in a clearly visible location on a motorcycle.
The decal tells emergency response personnel that a yellow dot folder containing medical information for the driver and/or passenger is located in the glove compartment. Motorcyclists should place their folder in an attached compartment.
The program is free to participants. They will be asked to complete a confidential form that includes their name, photograph, emergency contact information for no more than two persons and medical information, including medical conditions, recent surgeries, allergies and current medications.
The form also allows the participant to list a hospital preference and contact information for no more than two physicians.
The city of Largo is among the supporters for the program. The city wants to create a program through its police department and has asked the county to authorize it.
“The program, which gives first responders vital health information about automobile crash victims, has likely already saved lives in several other states across the country as well as counties in Florida,” said Largo Mayor Woody Brown in a letter to the commission. “Any program that improves accident survival rates for automobile drivers and passengers is especially important in a densely populated county like Pinellas County.”
The Fire Chief’s Association also supports a Yellow Dot program, as does the Pinellas Community Foundation.
Joel Quattlebaum, senior services officer with Largo police, provided a presentation about Yellow Dot to the Pinellas County EMS Advisory Council in September.
“The EMS Advisory Council views this program as a benefit to the safety, health and welfare of participating Pinellas County residents,” said Dr. Eric Carver, chairman of the council, in a letter to the commission.
Commission Chair Karen Seel asked staff to send information to the EMS Advisory Council urging it to expand the program. She said it was important to communicate with the emergency medical services community and municipalities.
In related business, the commission:
• Approved and issued renewal of certificates that allow emergency medical services agencies to be licensed by the state Department of Health.
• Approved a resolution certifying that money received from the State Emergency Medical Trust Fund would be used to improve and expand pre-hospital emergency medical services.