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Teaneck considering ‘Yellow Dot’ program to help save crash victims

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Officials in Teaneck want their town to become one of the first in New Jersey to begin issuing yellow decals that immediately give first responders vital information on crash victims, saving critical time.

The Township Council this week asked its administrator to investigate how Teaneck can establish a “Yellow Dot” program similar to one employed in more than 20 states, including New York and Connecticut.

A measure signed into law by Gov. Christie earlier this year standardizes the use of round yellow stickers on a vehicle’s left rear window to indicate that the driver’s photo and a list of their relevant medical conditions are in a yellow envelope in the glove box.

That information could include details of a person’s history of conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, high or low blood pressure, allergies and heart conditions.

Passengers could be included, as well.

A Yellow Dot packet

“If that information is readily available in the vehicle, medical personnel may be able to provide better and quicker treatment,” Councilman Yitz Stern said.

It can be vital even in less-serious crashes: It’s sometimes difficult for people in shock to remember specific information.

Several companies sell the tools online. New Jersey’s new measure puts the responsibility in the hands of county and local governments, who implement — and pay for — the program.

Fees, when charged, are ordinarily nominal — for materials and administrative costs.

Connecticut launched the first Yellow Dot program in 2002. Other states have since followed suit, some with their own twists.

Connecticut, for instance, uses a single card in an envelope. A county in Alabama utilizes a folder with important medical information and a photo of the person — which tells responders whether that’s the person they’re treating.

Kansas operates a Yellow Dot program geared toward citizens 55 and older.

The program is similar in some ways to the “Vial of Life,” through which people keep a list of medications and conditions on their refrigerators in case they’re not responsive when medical personnel arrive.

NOTE: Under the Yellow Dot program, emergency responders have immunity from civil liability for “reasonable actions” taken in response to incorrect or outdated information in the envelope.

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