Give medical bio the big chill

GILROY
– Most people wouldn’t think to search in the refrigerator for
lifesaving medical documents, but that’s the first place local
paramedics are looking.
GILROY – Most people wouldn’t think to search in the refrigerator for lifesaving medical documents, but that’s the first place local paramedics are looking.

Thanks to the Gilroy Fire Department’s recently enacted Vial of L.I.F.E. (Lifesaving Information For Emergencies) program, Gilroy firefighters and paramedics are finding a new weapon to fight against emergency medical conditions.

The program works by asking citizens – especially those with special medical concerns such as heart conditions, prior strokes, seizures, respiratory conditions and drug allergies – to keep a document listing their medical history stored in their refrigerator.

Held in a plastic container, or Vial of L.I.F.E., provided by the GFD, the document is kept in a prominent spot in the refrigerator for paramedics to quickly find in case of an emergency.

“When every second counts, getting this information immediately to rescue personnel is essential,” said Vicki Seaton, a GFD education specialist who helped implement the program last fall. “Taking the time to fill the form out can save your life.”

Already popular among local retirement homes, senior communities and assisted living complexes, the GFD is hoping more citizens take advantage of the free program.

“This makes the (paramedics’) jobs a lot easier,” Seaton said. “It only takes a few minutes to fill out the forms.”

Aside from medical history, the vials – provided for free by Saint Louise Regional Hospital – can also contain a photo, a list of doctors, insurance providers and an emergency contact person.

The plastic vials look similar to prescription drug containers, and the GFD asks all vials to be stored in a prominent location on the right side of the refrigerator’s top shelf.

Vial holders are also asked to place a sticker on the side of their refrigerator indicating to emergency personnel that the vial is inside.

To sign up for the Vial of L.I.F.E. and download a medical history form go to www.ci.gilroy.ca.us/fire/vial_of_life. For more information on the program call Vicki Seaton at 846-0372.

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