Yellow dots help first responders save lives

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A Hillsborough County program that could potentially save lives was introduced Thursday.

The Yellow Dot Program is designed to alert first responders of any medical conditions or allergies emergency patients might have. In the case of a car accident, the yellow dot a sign to them to check medical information written down in the car, on an alert bracelet, or in a wallet - before making any treatment-related decisions.

This all started three years ago when Lena Young Green’s husband suffered a diabetic attack while driving. Green says first responders and law enforcement were told that her husband was a drunk driver.

He later died.

Thursday, Green turned tragedy into a tool that can save lives.

A live demonstration of the program showcased the Yellow Dot Program. Placed on the back windshield of a car, the sticker alerts first responders to check the glove compartment for pertinent information on the driver. 

“We may have a patient who's unconscious for whatever reason and can't share their medical information,” said Hillsborough Co. Fire Rescue Chief, Dennis Jones. “We'll be able to quickly go to their glove compartment, read the information and then have a great idea of what needs to be done medically.”

It enables drivers to list any illnesses, conditions, medications and telephone numbers of their doctors. 

Green brought the concept of the Yellow Dot Program to Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller, who called it a "no-brainer" to launch within the county.

“I'm a three-time cancer survivor and I'm on medications and so is my wife,” said Miller. “We take medication, and there's certain things we can't take.”

Green's initiative will help those who suffer from unpredictable medical episodes.

“You know, things happen every day,” said Green. “Many times when things happen, we could get mad, angry, sad. But, oftentimes, we say, 'We have to do something. We gotta do something.'”

And this is Green's "something."  When illness strikes a driver, she hopes they will have a better chance to return safely to their loved ones.

The program is free. Hillsborough County Fire Departments and libraries have the yellow dot stickers. All you have to do is place it on the back windshield of your car, fill out the information on the medical information card, and stick it in your glove compartment. It's not just for residents of Hillsborough County. Anyone who drives through the area is also encouraged to pick a yellow dot up.