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Alaska becomes 23rd state with Yellow Dot med-alert program

Mark Tiessen

Alaska on Tuesday became the 23rd state to participate in the Yellow Dot program, which is akin to a medical bracelet on your car.

The Yellow Dot is a brightly colored, 3-inch sticker that is prominently placed on a driver's side of a vehicle's rear window, and alerts first responders that someone in the car may have a pre-existing medical condition, law enforcement and fire officials said when describing the Yellow Dot initiative during a news conference in Anchorage.

The yellow sticker will lead the responders to the glove compartment, where the participant will have placed a yellow card with more information, such as his or her name, address, a photo, medical conditions, medications, allergies and doctor's name and number.

Anchorage Fire Chief Mark Hall said none of the information provided on the cards will be placed into a database.

"This is voluntary, this is what you want to put on the card, and it's information that can help my first responders and the police officers with identifying information and any allergies or medical problems you may have that will help them take care of you," he said.

Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said the program is invaluable, especially if someone were knocked unconscious in an accident.

"If you're lucid and you're coherent, you can talk, maybe you don't need this program," he said. "But what this is about is planning for those times when luck turns against you."

The program is being operated by the Anchorage Police Citizens Academy Alumni Association with support of the Alaska Peace Officers Association and Alaska State Chapter of the International Fire Fighters Association, Alaska State Troopers Col. Keith Mallard said.

"The program is for all people who have medical conditions statewide, and the goal is to make the Yellow Dot materials available at all trooper posts and police stations across the state, as well as fire stations," Mallard said.

BP (Alaska) provided the initial $5,000 funding for the program, said Jan Watson, the program lead for the alumni association.

The Yellow Dot program started in Connecticut in 2002.


By MARK TIESSEN
Associated Press