Police introduce Yellow Dot
Knowing time is of the essence at accident scenes, Ted Hatch, an officer with the Gorham Police Department, is working with Westbrook Police Capt. Tom Roth to introduce the Yellow Dot program to Maine.
Yellow Dot is a national program designed to quickly alert first responders to important medical and contact information, especially when an accident victim cannot provide such information.
Hatch first brought up the idea last year at a Gorham/ Westbrook Triad meeting. The Triad is a partnership between law enforcement officers, senior citizens and community services formed to find ways to improve the safety and security of senior citizens.
In mid-July, Hatch met with representatives of the Scarborough Triad, including Scarborough police officer Tim Barker, to see if the group was interested in bringing the program to the Scarborough community.
The group, Hatch said, was “enthusiastic about supporting it.”
“I think it is a fantastic program,” Triad President Linda Bidler said this week.
The South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Triad has also signed on with their support of the Yellow Dot program.
Hatch said information in the Yellow Dot folder includes the individual’s name, emergency contacts, primary care provider, hospital of choice, allergies and any chronic medical conditions.
“The only information put in there is stuff that is needed for an emergency,” Hatch said. He said a lot of information on file with the police departments is outdated because it includes landline phone numbers, something the general public is using less and less.
Hatch said the Yellow Dot system would have helped on July 25, when emergency medical professionals responded to the scene of a motor vehicle accident on County Road by the Gorham/Scarborough town line in which a vehicle, going 45 mph, hit a tree. The man, who was injured in the accident, was not in a position to provide the information responders needed at the scene of the accident.
“In that particular case, if we would have seen a Yellow Dot, we would have immediately gone to the glove compartment and be able to identify the victim and have the information we needed to know,” Hatch said.
While Hatch is working with Triads to help get the word out, he hopes everyone will sign up for the free program.
“It is not just for seniors, although seniors are targeted with this,” said Hatch, a resident of Scarborough. “It is estimated by 2030, 70 million 65 and over drivers will be out on the roads.”
While the Yellow Dot folder will contain important information needed in times of emergencies, Hatch is not worried about the information getting in the wrong hands because, he said, it is no different than carrying the information in a purse or wallet.
“There is not any sensitive information. There is no database and the information is not logged anywhere,” Hatch said. “This is just information we need at the scene of an emergency.”
A meeting has been scheduled for Friday, Aug. 3 at 8:45 a.m. at the Gorham Municipal Center for law enforcement officers and first responders interested in learning more about the program.
The program is expected to roll out on Saturday, Oct. 13, but before that happens, Hatch said, several important things must happen: the general public and first responders need to be educated about the program, other communities need to get involved and a location to kick off the program has to be chosen.
From there, Hatch said, he is hoping each of the participating towns will set up a enrollment center some place in town, such as at a fire station, where the public can sign up for the program.
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