Program protects drivers
Published 8:45 pm Thursday, March 3, 2016
Do you have the yellow dot on your vehicle?
If not, the Troy Police Department thinks you should, and Sgt. Michael O’Hara will tell you why.
The Yellow Dot Program is a free program designed to assist citizens during automobile accidents, when they might be able to communicate for themselves.
The premise is a simple one: citizens pick up a free kit from the police department and complete the information – photograph, emergency contact, personal physician, medical conditions or allergies and any medications being taken – and place the kit inside a bright yellow folder in the glove compartment.
Then, they place a yellow dot in lower left corner of their back windshield, alerting first responders that they information that may be needed in an emergency can be found in the glove compartment.
O’Hara has been administering the program since its inception nearly four years ago. Earlier this week, he was working with a group of students at Troy University to share information about the program.
“We gave out more than 50 kits in one day,” O’Hara said. “We were talking to the students about the benefits of having this information available, especially as they head out on spring break.”
He is a firm believer in the benefits of the program and its potential to save lives.
“Say you’ve been in a car wreck and are unresponsive,” he said. “When the first responders, whether they police officers or paramedics or firemen, see the yellow dot on your windshield, we know we can go the glove compartment and pull out all the information you need to get the right treatment.”
That can mean specifying critical allergies, emergency contact information, your personal physician or even a hospital preference. “It can make a difference at a critical time,” O’Hara said.
Awareness of the program has been growing over the past four years, O’Hara said, and individuals who learn about the benefits often are quick to take part.
“One of the biggest questions they have is whether this information can be used to steal their identity,” he said. “It can’t. We don’t ask you to put your Social Security Number or your Date of Birth or any sensitive material in the packet … and having the yellow dot on your vehicle doesn’t make you a target for criminals. In fact, it let’s the first responders know how to get information more quickly.”
The packets are available free of charge at the Troy Police Department, the City of Troy Fire Department, the Pike County Sheriff’s Department and the Brundidge Police Department.
O’Hara said Troy officers will assist residents in completing the paper and attaching the yellow dots to their vehicles. “The one thing we do encourage is to complete the forms in pencil, not pen. Medications are going to change; contact information may change; you want to be able to update these,” he said.
Because the program is free, officers are hopeful more residents will continue to utilize the service.
“This is an outstanding program,” said Troy Police Chief Randall Barr.
“It’s not new, but we’re trying to get the information back out there to the public again … when it was created, it was first directed toward the older generation, but really anybody can benefit from it.”