County to explore ‘Yellow Dot Program’

Some communities have implemented a “Yellow Dot Program” in which participants place a yellow dot on their vehicle’s rear window so that if they are unresponsive or incoherent first responders know to look in the glove compartment for a corresponding folder with medical, emergency contact, and other vital information.

The County of San Diego is currently investigating whether or not to implement a Yellow Dot Program. A 4-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote Oct. 4, with Greg Cox at a National Ocean Council conference in Washington, directed the county’s chief administrative officer to work with partner agencies and explore the feasibility of a regional Yellow Dot Program. It also directed the chief administrative officer to report back to the Board of Supervisors within 90 days with recommendations for implementing a funding of a regional Yellow Dot Program.

“We’re working with partner agencies and bringing back a recommendation,” said Supervisor Dave Roberts.

Roberts is originally from Connecticut, where the Yellow Dot Program was introduced in 2002. It is currently active in nearly 200 jurisdictions nationwide. The jurisdictions which have used the program indicate that it has improved emergency response and saved lives.

“I think that’s a great idea,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

The Yellow Dot card inside the glove compartment allows first responders to verify the victim’s identity through a photograph, to communicate with family members or other emergency contacts, and to ensure that the victim’s allergies and other medical conditions are considered during the treatment process. The Yellow Dot cards also list prescription drugs taken by the victim, which can reduce adverse drug reactions from treatment.

“Fast access to medical information assists first responders,” Roberts said.

“Every second counts during a medical emergency,” said Supervisor Bill Horn. “The Yellow Dot Program has the potential to save lives and improve medical care by ensuring critical information like current medications and allergies is immediately available to emergency services personnel.”

The county’s Department of Aging and Independent Services currently administers a home-based similar program called Vial of Life, which provides medical information to first responders who arrive at a dwelling. Approximately 20,000 elderly and disabled citizens participate in that program.

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