A new program aimed at speeding the response process for victims of traffic accidents launches Friday in Cullman County, and it’s free to anyone who operates a motor vehicle.
The “Yellow Dot” program — named for the small yellow sticker placed in vehicles’ rear windshields identifying their drivers as participants — represents a cooperative effort between the state’s law enforcement and emergency response agencies.
The program’s designed to ensure first responders can obtain ready access to crucial information about accident victims and their needs, even if the victims are unresponsive in the aftermath of an accident.
Local agencies, led by the Cullman County sheriff’s office, will hold a 10 a.m. kickoff ceremony at the sheriff’s office on Beech Avenue, but sheriff Mike Rainey said motorists can register for the Yellow Dot program at any time.
“It’s really an ongoing type of registration, where people can simply register at our office, or at any of the other police offices in Cullman County,” said Rainey. “People can also register at Cullman Regional Medical Center, or at the Cullman County Commission on Aging. You can go by any of those locations during normal hours and just let the folks there know you’re interested in taking part.”
More than just a way for responders to identify motorists, the service records information about a patient’s emergency contacts, medical history, allergies, current medications and the name of his physician. Participating drivers simply place that information, along with their photograph, in the glove box of their vehicle, and mark their car as a “Yellow Dot” car by placing a free decal on the back windshield (or, for motorcycles, in the corner of the license plate).
Registering costs nothing. When drivers visit one of the registration sites, they’ll have a photo made,which is later taped to the front of a completed information sheet. Then they provide their medical history and emergency contact information. The final step is to place the completed information sheet, along with the photo, into a yellow dot folder that goes into the glove box (or storage compartment of a motorcycle).
Rainey said the Yellow Dot program should benefit injured motorists during the most crucial moments that follow an accident.
“It’s designed to help save lives during the critical ‘golden hour’ after an accident takes place by improving communication at a time when the victims may not be able to communicate for themselves,” Rainey said. “Having that information available in the car after a crash helps the first responders positively identify the victim, get in touch with their family or emergency contacts, and ensures that the person’s current medications and pre-existing medical conditions are factored into the type of treatment they receive for their injuries.”
To date, 48 of the state’s 67 counties have signed on to participate in the Yellow Dot program.
Following is a list of locations where motorists can sign up in Cullman County:
- Cullman County sheriff’s office — 1910 Beech Avenue SE, Cullman. Call 256-734-0342 for information.
- Cullman city police department — 601 2nd Avenue NE, Cullman. Call 256-734-1434 for information.
- Hanceville police department — 203 Bangor Avenue, Hanceville. Call 256-352-1203 for information.
- Cullman Regional Medical Center — 1912 Ala. Highway 157, Cullman. Call 256-737-2754 for information.
- Cullman County Commission on Aging — 1539 Sportsman Lake Road NW, Cullman. Call 256-734-1241 for information.
Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.